Our psalmist proclaims his love for the Lord. Why? Because He hears the cries of His children and answers them. Our response? Praise His name with ALL your heart!
I was thinking about this message of love. My mind jumped to; “You only love Him because of all He has done for you.” In the beginning of our relationship that was certainly true. But the more I learned of Him the more I love Him. Not only because of what He has done for me personally but for His entire character.
The song “What have you done for me lately” pops into my mind. This is how a lot of people treat God. If He isn’t showering them with obvious blessings they feel no need to ‘hang out’ with Him or give Him thanks. Heaven forbid they receive discipline! That sparks anger and blame instead of love. Tragedy falls and more anger and hatred creep in.
We live in a fallen world and there is bound to be trouble, death, sickness and decay. This doesn’t mean that every person is going to experience horrific events in their lives but that these things will take place in this world and it will at least rub up against us.
Does this mean that God isn’t in control? NO. It means that we sold our rights to a perfect world to Satan in the Garden. God is STILL in control of the direction of the story but there are bumps in the road now that we will feel as we move along. And God can and does use these bumps and turn them for our good. He is in control of every life that is surrendered to Him. Sometimes we wrestle Him for control and He is gentle with us as He brings us back onto the path He laid out. He doesn’t dictate every step but brings us closer to His perfect will for us each day as we walk with Him.
With the overall direction of the world God has His hands ALL OVER IT. He has already told us how it is going to go. There is NO power on earth, above or beneath that can stop His work. As we observed with Jesus’ life, He even uses Satan at times to accomplish His direction. Imagine if the Pharisees decided against crucifixion for Jesus. The prophecies would have fallen flat. God knew from the beginning what was needed to complete this task and He moved the pieces into place and kept them on track.
So, what has this got to do with loving the Lord and my original issue with loving Him because of what He has done for me? First and foremost, God ALREADY made the first move of love. He created us. That alone demonstrated His love. His second act of love was not to destroy us and start again in the Garden. He could have washed His hands of this world of stubborn people that day but He chose love instead. His greatest act of love was sending His Son to be our substitute. He could have withdrawn His Gift at any point along the way but He chose love FIRST. Jesus personally chose love FIRST too in the second Garden. Therefore, no matter what, He loved us FIRST. He loved us AND knew us even before we knew Him.
My response to His love is to love Him in return. I am limited in my scope and expression of love, just as Peter was in the famous conversation or restoration. He willingly accepts my limited love and helps it grow. It grows through obedience and understanding.
That understanding comes from spending time with His Holy Spirit in His word. It is a continual growth process that will not be complete until we stand before Him face to face. The more I know Him the more I love Him and the more I want to know Him.
Father God, THANK YOU for loving me. I have done nothing to deserve Your love but You shower it on me anyway. Thank You for letting me love You in return. My efforts are SO MUCH LESS than what You deserve but they are from my heart. Thank You for working in my heart every day and drawing me closer to You.