Thursday, April 23, 2015

Loving God For Who He Is

…And not just for what He can do for YOU.

I often hear clients say that they “feel” closer to God when things are difficult – when they need Him the most. 

But when things are going well -- not so much. Hmmm…now, why do you suppose that is?

I suspect that the issue is WHO we are focusing on. 

Sometimes life is really good. Running smoothly. (Probably more often than not, if we are really honest.) And during those sweet times we may feel quite proud of how well we are handling our lives, and happy to take the credit for what a good job we are doing.  And we may think: "Why bother God when I don't need Him right now?"

“It’s all about me -- I got this” ... Really?
"For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle." (MSG/paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 4:7-8)

It often happens that we mistake our “gifts” for the Giver.

When we shift our focus from the gifts (things we mistakenly think we are producing for ourselves) to the source (the Giver), gratitude will naturally replace entitlement. And really, you can’t have a lasting relationship with “stuff” or “good outcomes” –  and as you surely already know -- those things are all too fleeting. 

It is easy to take His gifts for granted if you haven’t looked deeply into the heart of the Giver and fallen in love with Him for who He really is -- and not just for what He provides when you are beyond your own inner resources to cope. 

What else do we have to give Him -- except our thanks and our praise?

Our salvation is a priceless gift of pure Grace from our loving Lord. We can't earn it, repay it, maintain it, sustain it, or lose it. We have nothing to offer in return -- except our heartfelt love and gratitude. God is certainly almighty and powerful, but He has feelings. Did you ever think about that? He feels love for us. And what's more, He shows His love for us, and that love is unrelenting, consistent and unconditional. Wow, we get to be in relationship with the Giver of all good things, and the comforter in times when life hits us hard.

Here are just a few reasons to fall in love with Jesus, the Giver...

1. He loved you first.
Have you ever tried to dislike someone who loves you, and ardently pursues you? It’s hard. Even if that person is unattractive -- the fact that they adore you is irresistible. Never forget that God loved you first – and your only job is to love Him back (1 John 4:19). He died for you personally, and lives in you and through you. You are His, and He is yours. His Grace embraces you beyond your wildest dreams. There is no cost to you and no downside to His love and forgiveness. How incredibly awesome is that?

2. He is for you, and not against you.
His love surrounds you and his forgiveness bathes you in a life of freedom. You are completely free from judgement and shame. In Him, you are given unconditional love, acceptance, and guidance. Who else loves you like that? Spend time with Him because He is your best friend (John 15:13-15; Romans 8:31).

3. He is the only safe place.
We are eternally safe in His arms. We are completely “hidden in Christ” – safe and secure in the Father’s love. Did you know that our “dwelling in Christ” is mentioned six times more often in Scripture than “Christ living in us?” (John 17:23)

Invite Jesus to your “Success Party” – not just your “Pity Party”.

The same love, comfort and guidance that you rely on in difficult times is also there in the good times. He is your loving Father who revels in your success and wants to celebrate and walk with you. How can we not fall on our knees in gratitude and awe at the ways He continues to love and bless us? Look Up -- even when you are not on your knees in need. Enjoy His joy over you!

"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

 "Thanks, Dad!"
I have a song for everything. Watch and Listen!

"Amazed" by Phillips, Craig and Dean

"Give You Glory" by Jeremy Camp

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