Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why do you love Me?

Cohen and I spent Monday with my family, getting spoiled and loved on.

I love that the two of us can walk into a room, only to have Cohen scooped up into one set of doting arms after another, kisses planted on every inch of his chubby little face, and all sorts of unintelligible sounds squealed out to him.

This will inevitably happen for a good 10 minutes before anyone realizes that I'm in the room, too. I love it.

I love that my baby is loved so very much.

As I sat back and watched the adoration take place yesterday, I felt God softly tug on my heart.

You see, Cohen was immediately loved the moment he came into the world. He didn't have to do a thing to earn the love; he didn't have to prove himself worthy. Those who love him do so simply because he is Cohen. I'm sure if they were asked, even they wouldn't be able to verbalize why they love him. They just do.

And if we're all honest, that's the kind of love we are all seeking. Love not based on what you've done, but on who you are.

That's why so many relationships with people are so unfulfilling to me -- I am growing to despise those  relationships where I feel like I have to live up to certain expectations in order to be accepted.

But my relationship with the Lord -- that's a whole other ball game. He loves me in spite of what I do. He loves me in a way that I will probably never be able to understand, but I appreciate it so much.

As I thought about these things yesterday, I felt the Lord ask me, "Why do you love Me?" Is it because of everything He's done for me? All the prayers He's answered? The works I've witnessed Him perform? I sure hope not.

Because that makes my love conditional.

I want to love the Lord because of who He is -- because of nothing He's done for me. I want to love Him even during those times when I don't see His hand at all -- in those silent times when so many lose their faith. I want to love with my heart and not my eyes.

The more I grow in my faith, the stronger this love grows. I'm not going to lie -- there are times even now when my love is based on circumstances. I'm afraid this will be a lifetime process.

This morning, as I was reading a few favorite blogs, I couldn't help but stop in my tracks at what Amy shared. She's reading through Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself, and look at her recent study (the rest of this post comes directly from Amy's blog):
Do you ever tire of riding the roller coaster of faith? of being up one day and down the next? or believing Him one minute and not the next?  We can exercise our faith in God in one of two ways.  One leaves us at the mercy of life's constant ups and downs.  The other is the key to steadfast faith - the way off the roller coaster to begin walking with God and practicing a faith that can't be "greatly moved" (Ps 62:2). 
The person with this kind of faith lives by the unspoken motto: I believe God as long as He does what I ask. Her faith is built on how often and how well God answers prayers.  Such "faith" depends on results and is fueled by sight.  (Inserted by [Amy]: Ouch. Been guilty of this one.)

Faith in what God does is your ticket to ride a roller coaster that ascends the hill during times when God's activity is obvious and then barrels down the hill the moment God seems inactive.  The process never stops. 
The problem with this is defined in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways.  Beth Moore continues:
If your faith is based on what God is doing, you are in for the scariest ride of your life.  We will rarely be able to perceive God's actions, though they will always be wonderful and good.  They are beyond our earthly understanding.  In the times when He seems inactive, He may be accomplishing more than ever! You see, a "what God does" faith is not really faith at all.  Although it is focused on God, it is still born in the realm of the obvious, or that which is seen.  The faith of the faithless says, "If God is not obvious, He is obviously not God." 

Genuine faith walks steadfastly with God for the pleasure of His company not for His results.  (Um, wow.)

Why is faith based on who God is a faith not greatly moved? Because it focuses on a God not greatly moved! It increases our understanding of His ways.  Prioritizing who He is will more accurately help us interpret what He does... 

...You see, what God appears to be doing changes constantly from our perspective.  He may heal one person while He calls another home.  He may be glorified in the poverty of one and the riches of another.  He will likely exalt you one year and humble you the next.  Our entire lives are lent to change.  But who He is will never change.  As He reveals Himself to you, His heart remains the same.  In the midst of society where the only thing you can count on is that you can't count on anything, God is your guarantee.  His faithfulness flows from who He is.  To please Him, our faithfulness must do the same.

I cannot begin to recall the times I have survived based on my limited understanding of who God is.  At times when I could not understand what He was doing, why He permitted some of my experiences, or why He had allowed my friend's child to die of cancer, I continued forward with these words: "God I can't understand why you are doing this.  But I know that, unlike me, Your actions cannot be inconsistent with Your heart, and I know that Your heart is loving, good and faithful. Somehow, some way, somewhere all these things are for good.  If I could just know you better through this, that is all the good I need." 

Linking up with Call Me Blessed for We Encourage Tuesday.

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