God Smiles When We Use Our Abilities
by Rick Warren
In our Devotionals series, Pastor Rick Warren discusses the Bible passages that inspire him the most. Today's Devotional is based on this passage:
"He has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do" (Psalm 33:15 MSG).
After the flood, God gave Noah these simple instructions: "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything" (Genesis 9:1,3 NIV).
God said, "It's time to get on with your life! Do the things I designed humans to do. Make love to your spouse. Have babies. Raise families. Plant crops and eat meals. This is what I made you to be!"
You may feel that the only time God is pleased with you is when you're doing "spiritual" activities like reading the Bible, attending church, praying, or sharing your faith, and that he is unconcerned about the other parts of your life. Actually, God enjoys watching everything you do, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. The Bible tells us, "The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives" (Psalm 37:23 NLT).
God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities he has given you. God intentionally gifted each of us differently for his enjoyment. You may be gifted at mechanics or mathematics or music or a thousand other skills. All of these activities can bring a smile to God's face.
You don't bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God's wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. God says, "You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn't ask, 'Why did you make me this way?'" (Isaiah 45:9 CEV).
In the film Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure." Later he says, "To give up running would be to hold him in contempt." There are no unspiritual abilities, just misused ones. Start using yours for God's pleasure.
God also gains pleasure in watching you enjoy his creation. He gave you eyes to enjoy beauty, ears to enjoy sounds and music, your nose and taste buds to enjoy smells and tastes, and the nerves under your skin to enjoy touch. Every act of enjoyment becomes an act of worship when you thank God for it. In fact, the Bible says, "God generously gives us everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17 TEV).
God even enjoys watching you sleep! When my children were small, I remember the deep satisfaction of watching them sleep. They looked contented, secure, and peaceful, and I was reminded of how much I loved them. When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea.
Parents do not require their children to be perfect, or even mature, in order to enjoy them. They enjoy them at every stage of development. In the same way, God doesn't wait for you to reach maturity before he starts liking you. He loves and enjoys you at every stage of your spiritual development.
You may have had unpleasable teachers or parents as you were growing up. Please don't assume God feels that way about you. He knows you are incapable of being perfect or sinless (1 John 1:8).
What God looks at is the attitude of your heart: Is pleasing him your deepest desire? This was Paul's life goal: "More than anything else, however, we want to please him..." (2 Corinthians 5:9 TEV).
When you live in light of eternity, your focus changes from "How much pleasure am I getting out of life?" to "How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?"
God is looking for people like Noah in the 21st century—people willing to live for the pleasure of God. The Bible says, "The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God” (Psalm 14:2 LB).
Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won't do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.
How do you use your abilities? I'd like to hear them? I think this would be a different way to get to better know someone that those 50 Q&A post. Ill start:
I use my abilities of compassion to help others. I have a love for children and would do anything for them. Babies love me, and almost instinctively know they like me and or feel safe with me. It is amazing and I love it. People often feel safe to open up to me, and they should, because I would never betray anyone like that. I have even had a few blogger friends, friends that have never met me, open up to me about deep personal issues in their lives. Wanting to either just share with me and or seek out my advice. I have also shared personal things with a blogger friend that I have never met. Something about her, made me feel it was okay and that I was 'safe'. I like for people to feel safe with me.
I am trying to use my photography as an ability. An ability to help people capture special moments in their lives, like weddings, births and their children's beautiful faces. God has gifted me in so many areas, its really hard to pick one and stick with it. I am one of those that is a Jack of many trades, but master at none. Although, some take that out of context to mock someone that isn't doing much with their lives. I think this can be a wonderful thing, but often frustrating and confusing. I feel I have my hands in so much, but that I am not a MASTER on one.
I think I am learning that I may be a master of being a servant to my kids and husband. I am getting really good at being a servant to others. Giving up my time, my heart and my energy to invest in those that need me.
I also have a gift of speaking in away to folks so that they understand. Some people have a hard time communicating their thoughts or feelings, and I can do this with no hesitation. I am open, honest and direct.
God has given me the gift of being super competitive and athletic. My son is often proud to show his friends what an athlete his mom is. He says to them, "my mom can hit and throw awesome .... for a girl." And he says it not in that way like ....yea, um for A GIRL...but he says it in that way, like, man for a girl, my mom can really hit and throw. Make sense?
I love being MORE like God and getting to better understand the heart of God, through my children.
So how are YOU using your God given abilities? I want to know.