Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Learning to Love the LORD

My daughter likes to stall before bedtime, which we do not allow.  She tries, but she eventually gets in trouble for not obeying respectfully.  Sometimes this is simply in the form of, "Hey Mom..." and then a series of questions right before I walk out of the room.  Knowing that she is attempting to avoid going to sleep at the moment, I tell her we will talk about that tomorrow. 

Occasionally there is a question that does need to be dealt with right then because I can tell she has a genuine interest and/or concern about something.  At those times I try to sensitively answer her in a timely fashion.  Then if needed we do talk more about it the next day.  We want our children to be open and honest with us even with tough questions and especially with things they would not discuss with anyone else or maybe feel embarrassed about.  As they are little and have little problems we can help them through, our prayer is that we can equip them to deal with the bigger problems that come when they are bigger.

A few days ago just as I was exiting the room before naptime, my daughter said, "Mom, I like God, but I don't really love Him."  Thankfully the Holy Spirit immediately gave me this response: "That's okay, sweetie.  You are just getting to know Him.  You will grow to love Him more and more over time."  She was satisfied and seemingly relieved by my response and said, "Okay."  Then she turned over and started off to sleep.

Both pleased and thankful for her honesty and the response God gave me, I began to think about her statement more.

How many of us would be that honest in our relationship with the LORD?  Especially as one new to faith, can you say you really love Him yet?  Maybe you do, and that is great.  If you don't, though, don't be discouraged.  In any relationship love takes time to grow.  As you get to know the other more and trust builds, then love soon grows all the more.

Even seasoned Christians may experience a lull in love for the LORD.  This happens, in my experience, because of inconsistency in prayer and Bible study and/or a difficult experience that has lead to doubt, fear, or distrust of the LORD's care.  Both of these issues are answered by more time in Scripture, more time in prayer, time with a wise and trusted Bible-believing and following Christian, and honesty with God and others. 

God wants our honesty.  I have felt the most relief and the most love from Him at times when I was the most ugly towards Him.  The times when I was ungratefully shouting my demands or discontent at Him because I was not happy with the way something was going have been the times when I have most clearly and profoundly heard and felt His unconditional love toward me. 

No matter where my love meter is toward Him, He loves me more than I can fathom.  No matter what I do well or what I do poorly His love for me never changes.  Whether I succeed or fail, He remains steadfast in His love toward me.  It is indeed remarkable.

So many miss this love because of unbelief, wounds from the past, perfectionism, lack of understanding of Scripture, lies from the enemy and others, and sheer lack of intenionality to grow in a relationship with a loving Savior.

Jesus loved you and me enough to die a painful death, suffering greatly, and then rising again three days later in order to set captives who call on His name free forever.  It's a lot of take in.  It's a lot to understand.  We will never understand it all this side of Heaven.  Should that stop you from continuing on, and learning and growing more in love with Him, though?  No!

Receive His unconditional love, and let Him grow your love for Him as you intentionally seek to know Him more.  It's a beautiful thing that makes me smile.  Thank You, Jesus!

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:11,12)

"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9,10)

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