“Because You Love Me”
When my teenage son Gabriel was younger we had a little ritual interaction between us. I would often buy a toy for him or make some other nice gesture. As I gave the gift to Gabriel I would ask him why I was doing it.
Almost by default he would fall back on some action he had done, some performance which would justify the reward.
” I cleaned my room”
” I walked the dog”
” I got an award at school”
I would then look at him and say, ” Gabriel, why did I do it?”
Of course then he would understand, look up at me sheepishly and reply;
“Because you love me.”
Of course it was only because I loved him. And because I love him he is always in my favor and I am always looking to do good to him. Not because of what he has done but because he is my son.
Many Christians fall back into this same knee jerk reaction to God’s blessing. If things are going well, they think they have done something to earn it. If life is going sour, they think God has withheld blessing. At the end of it they think God’s love and grace is somehow based on what they did or didn’t do.
The late Brennan Manning suggested that in the end God will ask one question and one question only of each of us;
“Did you believe that I loved you”
How you answer that question will radically affect your life. Deep down, most of us want to feel that somehow we have done something that earns God’s love.
* We have attended church service faithfully
* We have overcome some form of temptation
* We have tithed and given generously
* We have a successful marriage / family
The problem though of earning God’s affection and blessing through our own performance is obvious…
…we can’t keep it up.
And when our blessing and love from God is earned through our ‘good’ performance then it stands to reason that it can be withdrawn when we fail.
Oh the generations of schizophrenic turmoil that understanding of God has wrecked upon the church…
No wonder the idea of ‘losing your salvation’ is very real in the Body of Christ. If our relationship with God is based on our actions, salvation is a very unstable commodity. If however our salvation (and with it favor, love, mercy, and acceptance) is founded in Christ and his finished work on the cross, well, then the ‘good news” really becomes Good News!
Going back to my son Gabriel, the reality is he will never keep his room clean, do dishes, or walk the dog enough to earn my love and acceptance. I bless him, favor him, and accept him for one reason and one reason only…
because I love him!
Do you really believe God loves you? Not in the pre-packaged and formulaic answer of, “yes, he died for my sins”. And not in theological reasoning of the nature of God’s universal love. But in the simple Romans 8 definition of how much Jesus loves YOU!
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…
…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Romans 8: 35-39 (The Message)
Your whole Christian walk, including your relationship with your neighbor and creation shifts joyfully toward a life giving direction when you can answer the question of why God accepts, favors, and blesses you with;
“Because you love me.”
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