Sometimes I really say dumb things to God. Granted, we're in a committed relationship, so that's okay, but I usually learn something as a result.
I was wrestling with some things earlier this week and a friend asked me "Why?" I don't remember what specifically brought on the question, but in my head, I heard myself say, "because I feel like I'm going to let God down."
I know that doesn't make sense, but that was my gut reaction to the question of why I was wrestling with a particular problem.
As in any committed relationship, that's one of those "big things" that needs to be addressed.
I know that I feel that way about other relationships. I was "that girl" in school that wanted to do well just so I wouldn't let my teachers down. I want to go the extra mile so I won't let my family down or even people I work with. It's not like they pressure me into it. In fact, most people will continually tell me that they are proud of me no matter what.
So why do I feel that way with God?
With this being Holy Week, I've obviously been reading a lot of things on the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Kind of a big deal!
While I should be overwhelmed by the love of God, instead, I started to feel like I had to give God a good return on his investment. He invested so much in to me, I don't want to let him down!
Do you think I'm crazy yet? I know that "Christian answer" to all of this, but I had to really seek God on reminding me.
There are two things that I had to remind myself about:
1. It's about being moved to action, not following a command.
John Piper has an excellent devotional for Holy Week. In one section he says, "He loved us to the uttermost. And let us be so moved by this love that it becomes our own."
When we are in a relationship with him, we don't allow his investment to force us in to "debt repayment" (which is an entirely frustrating, futile activity). Instead, we serve him and show love to others because his love and devotion to us changes something in us! It makes us feel like we may burst if we don't show some love!
So what about when we feel ourselves starting to fall under the debt repayment plan? It's time to take another look at the original investment.
2. It's about dwelling in God, not working up to him
Again, this seems pretty basic, but we all need to be reminded about this!
John 15:1-4 says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
God invites us to dwell in him. He isn't after us to put forth effort into a journey to find him. He's already here.
When I begin feeling myself drained from serving other people, or I don't feel like showing love to other people, I have to take that as a sign that I need to focus on dwelling in God. Just like a branch can't bear fruit by itself, I can't can be filled with love for people or a desire to serve apart from Jesus!