Monday, February 24, 2014

Loving God for God's Sake

Why do you love God? Is it because God has blessed you, healed you, or answered your prayer in some other way? In short, is it because of something God has done for you?

I heard someone describe how blessed they were because when a tree fell in one of our recent winter storms, it did not hit their house. I’ve said similar things and heard similar proclamations for most of my life. We claim God’s blessing for ourselves in all sorts of situations where things have gone well for us. But what if we do not experience a favorable outcome?

The book of Job offers an insightful rejection of the simplistic explanation that bad things happen as a direct result of unfaithfulness. Yet even with biblical refutation, we are often guilty of tying blessing or lack thereof to God’s favor or disfavor. When we do that we lose sight of the truth that God’s love for us is unconditional and not tied to our behavior.

Do we love God for what God has done for us or simply because God is God? Habakkuk provides us with a beautiful example of what it means to love God simply for God’s sake:

Though the fig tree doesn’t bloom,
   and there’s no produce on the vine;
though the olive crop withers,
   and the fields don’t provide food;
though the sheep is cut off from the pen,
   and there is no cattle in the stalls;
I will rejoice in the Lord.
   I will rejoice in the God of my deliverance.         
                                                                                                Habakkuk 3:17-18

To love God for God’s sake, in whatever circumstance we are in, is recognition and acceptance of God’s unconditional love for us. As we accept that God loves us unconditionally, we then can turn our hearts to God, loving God for who God is, not what God does for us.

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