Here’s an idea that God has been teaching me about Himself lately: He is totally and utterly complete.

Everything He commands me to do is for my benefit, not His. I read the Bible because it helps me follow Him better, it helps me love Him more, it helps me trust Him all the more, it makes me better. But God? God didn’t change. God is God, and my devotion to Him does not complete Him.

The same with the calling He placed on my life. I am obedient to His calling on my life and my heart not because God needs me to do anything to accomplish His purposes in the world but because God made me a certain way with a certain call, and life is infinitely better in obedience to God than disobedience to Him. His commands are good and pleasant and lovely, He gave them to us for our benefit and not His.

Who has given God a gift that they might be repaid? God owns it all. God made it all. There is no square inch in the entire universe where Jesus does not emphatically declare, “This is mine.” There is nothing we can give God that He does not already own and couldn’t take by force, including our human obedience and devotion. But He gifts us the choice and the opportunity to obey Him for our benefit, not His. We are made complete in our obedience, nothing we do could ever complete Him.

Do you know what that means?

I’m so very free. Free to follow after God without worrying about how the world is going to collapse if I mess it up. Free to follow what God wants for my life because I know His motives aren’t for Himself, but His motives are to give me a gift. Because nothing I can do can complete God, or give Him something He doesn’t already own outright, I don’t have to worry that God is trying to take something from me.

God isn’t trying to steal my joy and the more I understand why that’s true, the easier it is to follow my Heavenly Father.