Do we have the capacity to love others for who they are? Not for the traits or gifts or help they offer us but for who they really are? Not for who they are to us relationally, but for who they are as a person created by God? Shouldn’t that prompt us to express that love frequently?
I think we do have the capacity. I don’t base that conclusion on personal experience but on Genesis 1:27 (ERV):
So God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself. He created them male and female.
God loves us as treasured creations; just as we are, knowing full well we have nothing of value to offer but ourselves. Created in the likeness of God, we should have the same ability, right?
Taking one step further: Do we have the capacity to love God for who He is? Not for the traits or gifts or help He offers us but for Himself? Not for who He is to us relationally, but for who He is as a person? Shouldn’t that prompt us to express that love frequently?
Reviewing my thoughts and choices lately, I see an undesirable trend. Even my prayers have been abrupt, selfish, one-sided, dead. I hate to admit it but I think I have managed to corrupt The Lord’s Prayer with a version of my own. From the Easy-To-Read Bible:
‘Our Father in heaven,
we pray that your name will always be kept holy.
We pray that your kingdom will come—
that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven.
Give us the food we need for today.
Forgive our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us.
Don’t let us be tempted,
but save us from the Evil One.’ Matthew 6:9-13 ERV
Sounds familiar. And sooooo unlike my prayers recently, which have been more like:
Hi Father. Thanks for today. Thank you for safety, comfort and ease. Protect me, my family, my friends. (yawn) Amen.
We are encouraged to offer prayers of thanksgiving. David’s psalms are great examples of doing so. But even my prayers of gratitude have been lifeless and bland. Not a peep about His holiness or glory. No worship or praise. An obvious lack of interest in the kingdom. Rarely an acknowledgment of my need for forgiveness (because there is also an absence of acknowledgment of my sin today).
This is not the prayer life of one who has been redeemed.
Could it be that my prayers – conversations with my Creator – are actually counter to His way, and offensive to His plan for me? If so, my prayers rise to heaven not like an intimate conversation, but like a stench.
God, help me. I have seen the wonder of Your presence. I have known the power of Your healing. I have felt the nearness of Your love. I have experienced the glory of Your overwhelming grace. I remember. You are my Savior, my King, my Friend. Forgive me for treating You so cavalierly. Forgive me for my counter-offensive attitude toward the things You care about. Rekindle my sense of awe of You. In Your presence is fullness of joy. May Your will be done, to me, and through me, for Your good pleasure.