I tweeted this earlier on and was requested to unpack it, so here’s an unpacking.
God is definitely interested in what we do. A New Testament author writes that “faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26) What we do, and what we don’t do, matters very much to God.
However I believe that who we are matters much more to him. By “who we are” I am talking about a whole manner of things. The list is endless, but includes: our character; the way we think about ourselves; the way we think about others; the way we handle criticism; whether we judge others or not; how we handle grief and loss; who or what we place our security in. You could continue that list for a long time.
The reason I’m thinking about this a lot recently is because I’m reading an excellent book entitled ‘The Emotionally Healthy Church’ by Peter Scazerro. It’s definitely worth a read by anyone and everyone, whether you consider yourself to be a Christian or not. I believe everyone would benefit hugely from reading it.
The basic premise of the book, at least in where I’m up to so far, is that spiritual maturity cannot be separated from emotional maturity.
This is not an attempt at a book review and I consider the following a poor reflection of the book’s content. Sorry! Get the book!
There are many Christians who consider themselves to be spiritually mature yet totally ignore their emotional health.
For example, there’s a (hypothetical) pastor who leads a church of hundreds. He leads multiple teams and ministries. His preaching is so effective that he’s regularly being asked to speak by other churches and even business organisations. Yet at home he has no time to listen to his wife and his children receive no affection. He places far more importance on his ministry than his family. In fact his whole identity is wrapped up in his ministry.
His wife sees this, and once plucked up enough courage to confront him about it. He yelled at her for being so critical and unspiritual and stormed off.
He may appear to be spiritually mature (to all but his wife), yet he has the emotional maturity of a child, even an infant.
God desires above all that we become more like Jesus by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us. God cares about what we do, but he is much concerned about who we are.
There is so much more to be said about this. If you’re interested I suggest you buy the book.