Sunday, February 23, 2014

If You Love Me

When we fully surrender our wills to His--
because we have gotten a 
glimpse of His love for us--
we are more free to hear His voice
and do what He tells us to do.
Even if we must choose against ourselves.
"If you love Me, you will obey."
Obedience will require sacrifice, 
but it is always motivated by 
"because I love You..."

Sacrifice for its own sake
is not always motivated by love.
It is often motivated by self.
If our sacrifice becomes self-driven, 
it becomes a pathway to expectation, 
and ultimately, if not checked,
to demand and entitlement.

"Obedience is better than sacrifice."
That is because obedience is "to" 
and sacrifice is "for."
The "to" has to come before the "for."
If I am obedient to His voice, 
I am obedient to love.
I can trust Him with the outcome.
My obedience is my expression of love.
To whatever degree it involves sacrifice,
the sacrifice will be as unto Him.

Sacrifices that are not a response 
to His voice, from a heart of love
are sacrifices for something.
A little bit of this for that.
It can create a “you-owe-me” attitude, 
and a carefully disguised sense of pride.
We are all guilty of this from time to time.
"I did this...and I thought that...
but my X did not lead to my Y."
And so we get angry.
At our kids, our spouses, our friends, God.
"You didn't give me what I deserved
after all I did for you (You)."

But when I am motivated by love,
I am not held in bondage to expectation.
Every time my attitude sounds like, 
"But I thought it would look different,"
I have to look at my motives.
Did I do that out of "obedience to"
or did I do that as a "sacrifice for?"
Am I sacrificing the fat of a ram 
to get something 
or pouring out an alabaster jar 
to love someone (Someone)?
Some things haven't gone the way I thought.
I have experienced sadness, anger,
disappointment and grief in varying degrees.
Whatever was done out of obedience to Him
can be counted as a love offering.
He can be trusted to make all things work
together for good to those who love Him.
If any of it was self-sacrifice for 
the sake of personal gain,
I have a chance to repent and 
allow Him to restore my hope
in His complete goodness.
If I love Him, I will trust Him.
He will "perfect those things
that concern me," 
even my concern that I need
to love so much more.

We know how much God loves us, 
and we have put our trust in His love...
And as we live in God, 
our love grows more perfect. 
1John 4:16, 17

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