November 3-4, 2012
Yesterday, we discussed God’s utmost desire and concern for us … to be in eternal and daily relationship with Him. Don’t get me wrong, He certainly wants our obedience as well, but if He had to choose between relationship and obedience, our relationship with Him is much more important to Him.
A major piece of my transformation occurred when God sent my beautiful wife, Martine, into my life. To me she perfectly embodied the principle of relationship trumping the importance of obedience. She loved me and loved relating to me, even with all my flaws, she never let my shortcomings interfere with her love for me. She was able to forgive, and continually tell me it was OK. Connecting with me and relating to me was important to her and those were the messages she consistently sent to me. She really does love me, unconditionally, although I give her conditions that sometimes stretch the definition and limits of unconditional.
This revelation dramatically changed my life: the pursuit of relationship with each other was more valuable to her than my doing all the activities just right. She didn’t simply say it. Instead, she really believed it and she still lives it out daily in almost every way she interacts with and towards me. You see, that was different from the take-home message I got from the family in which I grew up, and what the world of sports taught me.
Fortunately, it dawned on me, (well, I guess it could have come from my wife’s or kid’s frustration with me, or the Holy Spirit convicting me), that I was trapped in a distorted pattern with those close to me. I was definitely communicating that their obedience was more important than their relationship to me. I was acting like Straight-A Jane from yesterday’s devotional instead of Absent-minded Mindy. I was acting like Martha and not Mary.
Unfortunately, the message that I conveyed at times was that I expected them to be perfect before I could be happy with, accept, or relate to them. It was never my intention. It wasn’t what I truly wanted from those close to me. Talk about false pride … for me it’s a battle that I fight each day, and some days are better than others.
Today, think about and examine the subtle communication you give to those close to you … your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends. Are you showing them they are valuable to you just for being themselves? Or do you only have time for them when it fits your agenda, only interested in them when it meets your needs? Do you make efforts to serve them or do you communicate that they need to “serve” you first by doing everything just to your liking? It’s a look into our hearts that is difficult to do, but necessary for us to really identify our idols and grow. Obedience or relationship, which one you prioritize is your decision, so choose well.
O Father, You are so amazing. Thanks for Your love and thanks for sending Martine, to be Your example to me, to open my eyes and show me Your ultimate desire for relationship with me. I pray for wisdom, courage, and humility as I try to embody Your desire to those around me, so I will be less judgmental and more loving and accepting. Open my heart to Your love and acceptance so I can pass it to others. I pray these things in the name of the one who is pure love, Christ Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:18-24