Lisa Cooke

DeniedI was thinking recently about what God feels when we don’t obey Him, stay in fellowship with Him, or when we are oblivious to him and neglect Him. A number of human emotional words went through my head such as disappointed, angry, disgusted, displeased. The Old Testament says so much about how the children of Israel angered Him with their disobedience to the point that we can get the idea that God is always angry with us because we don’t always do things His way.

This sense of “demanded perfection” to keep God from being mad at us has caused many to have a dysfunctional relationship with God. We can see Him as a harsh taskmaster, a difficult Father, an impossible-to-please God.

The truth is, He is none of these.

I believe God is something we humans don’t have a word for. God is “other.” He’s “other” than disappointed, angry, disgusted or displeased.

Perhaps the closest word we have is denied. He is denied the love He deserves when I disobey Him, when I neglect or am oblivious to Him. At the end of Psalm 81 in verse 13 God laments, “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways.” Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41 because they did not receive Him for Who He really was, sent from the Father to bring mankind back into relationship with Himself.

In the beginning we were created in God’s image, and God fellowshipped with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But when they had eaten the forbidden fruit, disobeying the direct orders of God, the NKJV says in Genesis 3:8 “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

This was the first instance of God being denied what He created us for. And for generations afterwards, people have been hiding themselves from the presence of the Lord, a denial of His original intention for a relationship with us.

God the Father has provided a way through the redemption that Jesus the Son has secured for us to be able to return to the relationship God intended to have with all His creation. Salvation is God’s way of saying “I won’t be denied.” Forgiveness is God’s way of saying “I won’t be denied.” Communion is God’s way of saying “I won’t be denied.” He made all these things possible so that He wouldn’t be denied the full flow of love between Himself and us.

God does not deserve to be denied. He deserves a love that begins with Himself, which is then shed abroad in our hearts. We in turn respond to that love and complete the journey love began as we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Love does not deny the Lover what is due Him. He first loved us, and we return that love to Him through our devotion to His will and His ways.

Perfection is not God’s requirement for staying in His presence. Instead, what keeps us in His presence is a love for God that denies Him nothing. He has given us a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will ever be with us to guide us into that God-birthed love for the Father. To have a heart open to the influence of the Spirit is to have the holy capacity to give God all He deserves from our lives.

To follow through and act on His leading is love’s response to being loved by Him.

The Bible says no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. May those who walk uprightly withhold no good thing from Him who does not deserve to be denied.