I’ve discovered I can’t entertain God.
I suppose the first entertaining I did—other than as a child wanting attention—came at the first church I pastored. Someone concocted the idea we should have a womanless beauty contest, so a few deacons and I dressed as women, paraded before church members, and let them pick the winner. I lost. Not long after this, the school where I taught held a similar contest. Guess who was selected to enter? I lost again.
A few years later—when I wanted to grow a beard, but when doing so as a preacher wasn’t widely accepted—I portrayed the prophet Jonah in a church drama. I entertained and got to grow a beard in the process.
I can’t remember doing any other entertainment until mid-life when I began teaching middle school. Although I didn’t do womanless beauty contests or dress as biblical characters, I entertained them with stories of “old times.” I also made sarcastic remarks—roasted them, according to their lingo—when they asked irrelevant questions or questions I’d already answered.
God’s people in Isaiah’s time tried to entertain God, but He wasn’t interested in their theatrics. They brought sacrifices, which He had commanded, but He told them He didn’t want them because they attempted to mix entertainment with hypocrisy—a mixture He didn’t find entertaining.
Our Creator wants obedience from us, but we can’t impress Him. He’s perfect; we’ll never be. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never live up to the standard of perfection He requires. Thinking we can translates into only entertainment. As hard as we may try, our efforts will always be imperfect. Our sinful nature gets in the way, which, even when transformed at salvation, still troubles us.
Grace provides the good news. By God’s grace and through His forgiveness, we can obey, not entertain, God. Also, the Father clothes us in something we can never earn: Christ’s righteousness. Our works can’t save us, but Christ can and does.
What we can do for God is obey and show our appreciation for what He has done for us by serving Him and others. Then He’ll accept our acts of worship, and we’ll experience joy as we never experienced before.
Don’t try to entertain God. Just obey and love Him.
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