Deeds or Ways?

All the Benefits of Believing (ATBOB) #6

He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

Psalm 103:7 (ESV)

They say you should never meet your heroes, because the reality never quite matches up to the fantasy. You hear stories of people meeting a celebrity or sports star, and they come away disappointed because the person they met didn’t live up to their expectation.

The problem is we may know what someone does (on screen say) but we don’t know them.

We ought to be aware of this danger in our relationship with God. In our verse from Psalm 103 today, we see that the people of Israel knew God’s deeds, but Moses knew His ways.

In recent years, there have been a number of popular TV shows and movies about historical figures – particularly royalty. There have been dramatisations of the lives of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II and King George VI to name a few. Each of these debatably fairly accurately report the things these people did. What is often less accurate and left to poetic licence, is what these people were actually like.

We may learn all about what a person did in their life, and although that certainly allows us some insight into their character, it is a far way from actually knowing someone.

We must get to know God – not just what He does, but who He is.

Like most of us, I am sometimes guilty of treating God like a cosmic genie. Our prayer life can reflect the lack of depth in our relationship with Him when all we do is list our “wishes” for the day. It proves that we are more interested in what God can do for us, instead of getting to know Him personally.

My children are young and often ask for things – usually snacks. But what they really value, despite the asking, is spending time with their parents.

I’m sure we recognise that while God’s many blessings on our lives are wonderful, the truly important thing is our relationship with Him. If our prayer lives are just a long list of requests, then we need to reflect on our heart towards God. God wants to bless you, but more so He wants to spend time with you.

Jesus didn’t die to give us “stuff”, but to make a way for us to be in a full and satisfying relationship with God.

So how do we do that? How do we focus more on God’s ways rather than His deeds?

Firstly, I think we need to prioritise our relationship with God. God ought not to be one of many competing priorities, but should be the most important thing in our lives. We must make time for that relationship every single day. No relationship ever grows unless we spend quality time together – our relationship with God is no different.

Secondly, as I’ve said above, we need to take stock of our prayer lives. If they lack substance, so will our relationship. Talk to God about what matters to you, not just what you need from Him, but how your day was and how you are feeling.

Thirdly, I’d recommend you study different aspects of God’s character. When we read the Bible, we are not just reading accounts of what God has done. We also have access to many wonderful passages of Scripture which describe who God is.

Take an aspect of God’s character and study it out. For example, you could study His love, His forgiveness, His mercy or His patience. As we begin to understand God’s ways, we will get to know Him more intimately.

Once we know God in deeper ways, we will much more appreciate His deeds, because we will see them in the light of His character.

Are you more acquainted with God’s deeds or His ways? Do you need to change? Talk to the Lord about this, and He will make known His ways to you today.

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