When I was a child, we used to sing a song that went something like this:
“Be careful little eyes what you see,
Be careful little eyes what you see,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.”
That’s what I sang.
I sang the words.
I heard myself singing the words.
But my mind turned the words into a different meaning.
What I actually thought the song meant was that I needed to be careful what I see, do, and say, or God was going to get me!
But that’s not what the song means at all!!
A child not doing wrong things because his parent who loves him is watching is not the same thing as
a child who doesn’t do what he’s not supposed to do because he knows he’s going to get in big trouble if he does.
The motivation is not the same.
Love motivates positively, but fear motivates negatively.
Love leads to more love.
Fear can often lead to rebellion,
- rebellion against being devalued, because that little voice inside says that the soul has value,
- rebellion against not being truly loved,
- rebellion against the sometimes angry reaction of the parent who is feared,
- rebellion at being controlled instead of being encouraged to control oneself,
- rebellion at unjust treatment,
- rebellion at constant criticism and negativity,
- and rebellion for a large number of other reasons.
I was raised with much more fear than love.
My motivation to obey was largely out of fear.
This translated directly to my spiritual life and how I saw God.
I knew God blessed me, and I believed he loved me!
But the way that I was raised blinded the eyes of my heart to LOVE being a motivation for God’s kindness. I knew and believed that I was saved by grace, but somehow my knee-jerk reaction on a day to day basis was that that’s as far as the grace extended. Without realizing it, I felt that I somehow had to earn God’s love from then on.
But I was wrong!
A while back I was reading Hebrews 12:1,2 when I wondered, what was the joy that was set before Jesus that caused him to endure the cross.
And it struck me suddenly that I was a part of the joy that was set before Him, that He delighted in me.
But how could that BE, that God would delight in me in spite of all my sins against Him? Perhaps He could take pity on me, but DELIGHT IN ME?
But don’t good parents love their children in spite of all the naughty things that they do? Do they only take pity on their “pathetic” misbehaving children, and not delight?
I believe that in our heart of hearts, we delight in their being our children even when we feel like they’ve been driving us crazy! And yes, they are even more of a delight when they try to please us.
Why should we believe that God is not better than that?
Why should we believe that God is somehow a bad guy and that human parents are better than Him?
How does that make sense?
If humans know how to be good, does it not follow that they were given that goodness from Someone, somewhere higher than themselves?
God’s love is unconditional.
That means that He loves us in spite of…
It means He does NOT love us because of anything we do, therefore He does not stop loving us every time we mess up.
His faithful, covenant promise to His children is that He will “never leave (us) nor forsake (us).”
He knows what is best for us much better than we do for ourselves, and He actively takes care of us each day.
When I realized that His love was so intimate for me and that He delighted in me as His child, this opened up a whole new dimension in my motivation for following Him and obeying His commands!
His love infuses itself into me and causes me to love others.
His love for me and for others motivates me to love Him more and to treat others in a more loving way.
Love is the motivation that God wants us to have for our love and obedience for Him.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your great love for us! Thank You that Your love never fails, never changes, never diminishes, even when we run away from You. Thank You that You lovingly come after us just as surely as a human parent runs after their child when s/he tries to run into the road in the path of an oncoming car. Thank You that Your love for us is perfect, even if our own parent’s love is/was not. Help us to believe and remember daily how much You love us and to draw near to You so we can know You and love You more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What about you?
Does any of this touch a deep chord in your heart?
Does anything here give you an “aha” moment?
Let’s talk in the comments below.
Photo by Shari Murphy on Unsplash