God Wants Your Heart

A Common Misconception of Christianity is That We Have to Earn our Way to God’s Favor-the Bible Says Otherwise.


Mitchell Tyler, Staff Writer

I have a chocolate lab named Chloe. We’ve had her since she was a puppy and have loved her since then. Yes, she is a dog, and yes, she is probably incapable of loving us back, but what she does have toward me is loyalty. I am her owner, so she feels loyal to me, feels like she should always please me. She’s always so overcome with excitement when I get home. There’s just a craziness that very suddenly comes over her. She makes weird noises, she jumps around. Just crazy. In her craziness, her dog instincts kick in, and she feels like she has to do something for me. When I come in, she’ll sprint off and get some toy- one of her rope toys or balls- and show it to me. As if she says, “Look at this! Isn’t this amazing? Don’t you love me now?” This happens every time and has happened for years. Finally, I asked myself the question: Is this how God sees us at times?

Bear with me here, I’m not saying that God thinks his creation is like a little pet that’s crazy at times. How often do we ignore the fact that God loves us because he made us and has redeemed us, and try to prove our worth to him by legalistic works? Psalm 51:16-17 says,

“For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;

You are not pleased with burnt offerings. 

The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit;

A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” 

God does not want us to try to counteract our sin by doing good things. Isaiah 64:4 says,

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.”  

God wants our hearts, not our works. How many times do we try to work sin off? How many times do we try to pull ourselves out of sin so that God will see? So that God will say, “Good Job! I love you now”? This mistake is made often, and it’s a cancerous mindset. It is not the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus, who lived a perfect life, dying for a dirty and rebellious people. Can you imagine what God thinks, the sadness he experiences when we try to earn his affection by doing stuff? We often feel trapped by sin, that we have to buy our way out. That is a sentence that has already been served by Jesus, a price that has been paid by Jesus.

God doesn’t want us to think works earn us his love. God wants us to realize that we can’t do enough good, to have a “broken and contrite spirit,” and turn to him.


(Also, works are extremely important, James says in James 1:22,

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” 

Works ought to show our faith. Works do not gain us faith, but merely show a watching world what Christianity is about. John 13:35 says,

“By this all people will know that you are my disciple, if you love one another.”)