Is God’s Best Achieved or Received?

How do you get God’s best? People have wrestled with this question down through the ages with good reason. Everything rests on the answer.

How do you get God’s best? People have wrestled with this question down through the ages with good reason. Everything rests on the answer.

It’s Not About You

Many try to answer this question by turning to themselves. They imagine if they are good enough or worthy, they will force God’s hand and compel him to give up his best. They look at the commandments as rungs in a ladder and believe with enough effort they can achieve God’s best.

This approach is flawed. Since a person could always do more, they will be left with uncertainty wondering if they’ve done enough. It also results in self-standards: “Trying my best should be good enough.” This is misdirected because the goal to get God’s best would never come about by meeting our standards, but rather his perfect standards (Matthew 5:48).

This perspective presents an overinflated view of ourselves. The Bible says, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). Rather than showing us how good we are, God’s commandments are a mirror to show us how far we’ve fallen. Trying to gain God’s favor through obedience is impossible because we already have a flawed record. This only sets a person up for failure and despair.

Yet, perhaps most concerning of all is how this impacts a person’s view of God. A performance-based perspective diminishes God to someone who is much more concerned with what you do rather than who you are. It limits him as only capable of conditional love. This paints God as harsh and distant, someone who is hard to please and reluctant to give you his best.

God is Good and Loving

Picture a young man who has found the young woman he wants to marry. When he proposes, he offers the girl much more than a ring. He offers his very best: himself. This is not because of anything she has done, but simply because of his love for her. The Bible uses the love in a marriage relationship as a picture of the love God has for his people (Ephesians 5:25–32).

Consider what would happen if the girl rejected his proposal because of uncertainty. Making it all about herself, she might think “He could never love a person like me.” She might refuse his offer questioning whether he was truly capable of such love. The thought is heartbreaking because she would miss out on his love. How much more tragic when a person doesn’t believe in the greatness of God’s unconditional love! Their doubt would prevent them from experiencing the best God has to offer.

When a person believes in God’s saving love through faith in Jesus, they see God through an entirely different lens. “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). As his cherished creation, you begin to see the greatness of God’s love like never before. His love is not based on who you are or what you’ve done. He loves you because that is who he is.

In Love, God Gives

The way God shows his love is by giving. The word the Bible often uses to describe grace (chariti), God’s unconditional love, shares the same root word as gift (charisma). They are inseparably connected. We see that concept in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” How does God show his love in action? He gives. In Jesus, God gave his very best. He provided the substitute we needed. God’s favor doesn’t come because of what we do, but rather because of what Jesus did for us.

Through our faith relationship in Jesus, God continues to give many other wonderful blessings. Forgiveness is not something we strive for, but a present possession (Ephesians 1:7). Perfect righteousness is not a goal, but a gift (Romans 5:19). Jesus has reconciled our relationship with God providing us with peace (Romans 5:2). The result is the certain confidence of eternal life: “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Imagine the young girl pulling out five dollars from her purse as thanks for the engagement ring. It would be a tremendous insult, a complete misunderstanding, and a rejection of his love. Any attempt to gain it based on our efforts results in losing everything. “If by grace [a gift], then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace” (Romans 11:6).

In a similar way, getting the best God has to offer can never be achieved, but only received. You only get the fullness of all God has to offer when you come with empty hands. Then, clinging in faith to Jesus alone, you discover in him you already have God’s best and it is more than you could have ever imagined.


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