Jack, I can always count on you to answer my questions in a way which helps me to understand.
I am currently reading ‘The Problem of Pain’ by C.S. Lewis and in one respect, I am understanding and in another respect, I feel very confused. My mind is trying desperately to wrap around the concepts presented here.
In one regard, Lewis states that God did not create us to love Him, rather He created us so He could love us. In another section of the book, not much further along, Lewis states that God does not need us. Because He is perfect, He needs nothing outside of Himself. Rather, He has made Himself need us for our own sakes, because beings that we are, we “need to be needed” and so He “needs” us out of Love for us, a perfect Love.
I hope I am making sense and quoting Lewis correctly. This is how I understand it anyway.
My question is this: Does anything we do here make God happy? Does He ever look down on us and smile? For if He truly does not need us beyond us needing Him, then does anything we do really affect His opinion of us one way or another?
I know the Bible mentions our good deeds being rewarded, if they are truly unselfish and thoughtful deeds, without thought to one’s own self or how it will benefit us. But does this mean at all that God is proud of us, or that we please Him in any way?
I just sat and cried after reading the book, without truly knowing why. Part of me understands and yet part of us does not and I guess that scares me and confuses me. Thanks for any insight.
Romans 12:1-2 says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Yielding your life to the Lord, learning and following His will for you pleases Him.
And Romans 14:17-18 says, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
These were written by Paul, a man who was obsessive about pleasing the Lord. He taught that when we experience the peace and joy that come from doing God’s will, God looks down upon us and smiles approvingly. And when we’re considerate of each others’ strengths and weaknesses in the faith, refusing to criticize or condemn, we’re serving Christ and pleasing God.