Which do you seek – Jesus or what He gives?
“7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10 NIV
When I come home from work and see my family for the first time during after a long day of work, my kids come running to give me a big hug and welcome me home. I love those times.
Not long ago, I remember coming downstairs after taking a shower and Josiah running up to me to give me a big hug as he yelled, “daddy!” Of course I did what every daddy would do. I got on one knee and welcomed that big hug. Then came the reason for the embrace. “Daddy, can I play with your Nintendo DS?” He wasn’t coming to embrace me because he wanted to be close to me, but because he wanted something from me! Stinking kid!
As I sat thought about this for a second it was like God spoke to my heart and said, “You’ve come to me like that many times before!”
Ouch! Unfortunately that is very true. I remember so many times that I prayed like crazy, raising my hands in worship, and made promises to Him. Truth be told, I was not there because I was in awe of Him or because I wanted to be near to Him, but rather because I wanted something from Him and assumed that if I did the right things, said the right prayers, and made the right promises, He would give in and fulfill my selfish desires.
God knows my heart, my mind, and my motives. Because He does, He will not be tricked or deceived by empty, ME-centered worship.
I read recently that Francis Chan says in his book Crazy Love says, “I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered.”
I must be careful to pursue a healthy relationship with my Savior more than I pursue what He can give me. It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting the blessings of God, the hand of God in my life, and the miracles of God, but seem to forget that the true treasure I ought to seek more than a change in my circumstance and is, is His presence. After all, Jesus never gave His life on the cross so I would have a better day, He came to lay down His life to forgive my sin, so that I can enter a relationship with Him. He never came just to give me more stuff and more money. He came to draw me closer to Himself in a loving relationship.
Forgive me Jesus for the many times that I come to You with the hopes that You, Lord would obey me rather than the other way around. Change my heart to always long to be in Your presence despite my own situations. In your precious name, amen.