What makes you tick? What motivates you? What “thing”, if you have it, puts you on cloud 9?
What “moves” and motivates us is what drives and delights us. (And conversely, the thing that sends us into despair when we don’t have it, also shows what rules us.)
Many things delight me. I have strong delight in my children. I delight in books, iced coffee, my husband, and my dearest friends because they hold a piece of my heart.
Because I know this about myself, I must also be aware that these good things can become “ruling” things if I am not careful.
C.S Lewis said, “Love begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god.”
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called…and be ye thankful.” Col. 3:15
Desires have a way of taking over and driving us. For instance, a desire for love can lead us to compromise our purity. A desire for respect and reputation can lead us to build up walls of self-protection, pride and deceit. A desire for order and efficiency can quickly morph into a stubborn desire to rule and control other people. The desire for security may morph into a controlling worry and a fear of the unknown. It’s helpful to know our own tendencies so we can keep an eye on our hearts.
There’s one desire/pursuit that will never lead us wrong, and that is a desire for God and His Word.
What are you pursuing today? What’s driving you? Is it a pursuit for God and a desire to be more like Him? If not, I think we need a fresh look at the love of God for us, because it’s not only overwhelming and humbling, but it’s the model by which we are to love other people.
God has gotten a bad wrap. Today He’s portrayed as a distant, moody, unstable deity that we can’t really know. (WHO do you think perpetrates this lie?)
The Old Testament tells another story. Over and over again, we’re told that God has steadfast love for His people. This love never changes, and it’s not dependent on us. It means that He knows that we are sinners and still chooses to love and do good to us, because that is how He is. God is love.
Did you know that God delights in you and thinks about you?
The thought of “steadfast” love is almost unbelievable in our broken world. Our concept of love is marred by sin and bad experience:
- Husbands, who promised to love and protect, end up walking out or cheating.
- Parents who claim they loved their kids end up abusing them verbally or physically.
- Family members hurt each other.
- Friends walk away and are unfaithful.
- Church members cut each other down and gossip.
- Leaders don’t lead to “serve”, but to serve themselves. It’s all about them.
Such is life in a sin-sick world. We don’t even know what love is like until we look at God. But when we do look to God, we see what TRUE love looks like:
- love that is constant, steadfast, never ending,
- love that is not dependent on our worthiness or unworthiness
- love that corrects and guides
- love that is faithful
- love that does what is best at all costs, even if it cost His “one and only Son.”
Even more amazing is the “mandate” to return that love by loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind. It’s hard to comprehend why a God who is all sufficient would desire our love, isn’t it? But he tells us that He desires for us to love Him back.
And, sadly, even after we “know” Christ, we still misplace our affections and allow our hearts to chase temporal things.
Leon Morris said “Idolatry is the investment of ones love in the wrong place.”
Any time we sin or “fall short” of His standards in Scripture, we’re showing that our affections are elsewhere. Perhaps we thought that giving someone a piece of our mind would bring happiness and delight rather than following God’s mandate to kindness and self-control. Perhaps we thought that a prominent position or power was to be coveted, rather than taking our place with the lowliest servants. Perhaps we thought that we were arguing for a righteous cause, when in fact we just enjoy division and contention rather than peace and unity.
A younger mom recently told me that she couldn’t stop herself from yelling at her kids no matter how hard she tried. I can understand her frustration, but I also know that God puts us in situations where we are stretched and thin and worn to test our responses. Yelling at the kids is not okay because you’ve abandoned self control and given in to anger and frustration. You may have the right to be upset but—you can be right but still wrong at the top of your lungs.
Anyways, a hard situation is our “growing soil” and the soil is chosen by God. He plants us right where He wants us. He prunes us when He chooses. He waters us, shades us and even replants us if He desires. God’s sovereignty can never be forgotten. He is in control and He wants us to love Him and obey His word.
We shouldn’t say that we “can’t” do right, because His Spirit does empower us to live a godly life. It’s more honest to say we “won’t” stop yelling, or worrying, or obsessing over problems. We won’t choose joy. We won’t stop comparing. We’re focused so heavily on THAT problem that we’ve put our spiritual life on the back burner. We’ve chosen to follow something else, and forget, temporarily, about God. (I’m speaking from experience here.)
We all must grow and sometimes the growing is easy, and sometimes tough. Your “soil” may include clinging kids, no money, a messy house (due to the clingy kids) and emotional distress…. or maybe you’re in a stage of life where you’re not dealing with “bratty” kids anymore but messed up adults or hurtful relationships. You may be “planted” somewhere where you get no encouragement or support.
Your situation may be different than mine, but God’s love for you and His plans for you are always the same: He wants us to look like His Son. To be conformed, molded, restored. He loves us too much to let sinful junk rule and ruin our lives.
Truth: You are where God wants you and He has something for you to learn. Truth 2: If you don’t learn it, but fight and kick and scream, He’ll continue to bring similar trials your way until you do.
His sanctification comes as we submit to His will and ways. Joyful living comes when we really do love the Lord our God first and foremost—>we must love Him back. We must love Him more than our dreams or wishes. And when we realize the amazing love that our God has for us, somehow we’re able to rise above our circumstances and minister to those “unlovable” people around us. Yes, even our enemies.
Ps. 119:16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
It’s easy to say we love God because nobody can measure that relationship. But God says that our love for others is a good indicator of what’s going on inside.
1 John 2:10,11 By this it is evident who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
We all fail miserably in the love department. We love the right things for the wrong reasons and we love wrong things for the wrong reasons. But life is so much simpler when we focus our love where it belongs–on our Savior.
When you sin, confess it and begin again. “Conscious repentance leads to unconscious holiness.” God’s steadfast love should be an encouragement to us to return to Him again and again when we’ve given our love to the worthless and temporal junk of this world.
Psalm 40: 8 I delight to do your will, O my God: your law is within my heart.”