The Heart of the Lord
Jesus replied “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood….” — John 6:26
So, it is Tuesday and I’m wondering what to write about for WMD tomorrow. I have plenty of ideas, but I’m just not sure if it is from the heart of God. I decide to take a long walk and talk with the Lord. As I start my prayer, I start it in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I simply say “Lord, how are you doing?” Instantaneously, for just a second, I think I felt a fraction of the heart of God. There were so many thoughts. I want to try to write one of them down for you today.
A few weeks ago, Caroline asked me a hard question out of the blue. She said “Daddy, who do you love more? Me or Jesus?” Hmmm…are we really about to go here? I tell her that I love Jesus more. I could tell this was a shot to her little heart. I quickly sent a prayer up to Heaven begging for a simple explanation. So, I said “baby, what is something you would really like to have?” She spouted off a ton of items: A new American Girl, an iPad, a laptop computer…you know, all these inexpensive items (all I wanted was He-Man action figures when I was 6). So, I said “what if I bought you a new iPad, and then you spent all your time with it and never talked to me anymore like we are talking right now? How would that make Daddy feel?” She said “like I loved the iPad more than I love you?” I said “exactly.” “Baby, you are a gift from God. He gave you to me. I can’t love any gift more than the giver.” Praise God she understood.
That conversation is the best I can do to help you understand the heart of God. I believe that He revealed to me that He feels His people, especially Americans who carry the name “Christian,” they love His gifts more than they love Him. Today, I am much better at giving Him immediate thanks for the good things in my life. I am much quicker to recognize that all good gifts come directly from Him. This has not always been the case. I remember asking Him for a particular girl to be my girlfriend. When He granted my wish, I don’t think I gave Him a second thought for at least a year. I’d sure like to go back and have a talk with that ungrateful young man. I remember asking Him to help me save for a guitar. When I finally got a brand new 1993 Gibson Les Paul Standard that was onyx black, I thought I had already made it to Heaven. For 3 solid years, playing that thing was the number one priority in my life. Did I ever tell God “thank you?” Not one time. I also remember getting rejected by that girlfriend (possibly because she felt replaced by a guitar). She went with another guy and didn’t even bother to break up with me first. I hated seeing them together. I wanted to be the one she spent her time with. I realize now that I have the power to make God feel the same way by choosing stuff over Him. No, He doesn’t NEED Adam Hopkins for anything…no more than I NEEDED that girlfriend. But, the God of the Universe wants me and is constantly choosing me. The only thing He wants is for me to love Him back.
I guess I say all that to ask you this: are there things that you love more than God? I mean, this can be anything. You could love something good like playing music on the worship team more than you love God. You could love your spouse more than you love God. It is very easy to love your kids more than you love God. It is very easy to love money, sex, and power more than you love God. You could love revenge and “paying people back” who have wounded you more than you love God. You could love food more than you love God (I think I did this yesterday). You could love the many forms of technology that we use for entertainment more than you love God. Am I saying never go to the movies or out to feast? Not at all. But, I am asking you to think about what you frequently and naturally gravitate towards. God is asking “who do you love more?” The answer is not given with words from your mouth. It is given by the choices you make in your life.
What if you had a Job-like experience? What if today you lost it all? You lost your stuff, your family, and then finally your health. Believe it or not, this is all going to happen to us eventually. Your stuff won’t always be your stuff, family members die eventually, and even at 38, I see that my body doesn’t heal nearly as quickly as it used to heal. Job just happened to lose it all very quickly. When this happens, there are only two responses. The first type of response is very common: “Where are you God?” “You could have prevented this!” “I just don’t know what You are doing!” “Are you even real?”
Or, you could have the response of Job.
“I came naked into this world from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. May the name of the Lord continue to be praised in my life.” — Job 1:21
God loves you. You don’t earn His favor by keeping a set of rules. He is unimpressed with your religious rituals. The Bible even says that the righteous acts we do that we think are so wonderful and impressive are nothing more than filthy rags in His sight (see Isaiah 64:6). He wants you to love Him back…not because of what He can do for you or what He can give you, but because of who He is.
Do you love Him?