I went to one of the best donut shops in Chicago recently -The Doughnut Vault right across from the Merchandise Mart. It was fried, glazed donut perfection! I dragged my whole family along to experience this culinary wizardry. But I knew, I knew, that if my wife had her preference she would have had a Subway breakfast. But because she knows me, and knew this was so important to me she went along without complaint.
Have you ever done anything different because of a relationship you were in? For me it is sitting down and watching Quints by Surprise. This is not a show I would normally turn on. I have nothing against changing 40 diapers in an hour, or watching the ruckus of 5 toddlers, but it would not be my first choice of entertainment. But because I am married and love my wife I watch.
Romantic love when it is working well is about finding your own happiness wrapped up in what makes the other person happy. When dating you may eagerly buy flowers and find yourself enjoying it because you know how much the one you love will enjoy it. And doing these acts for the other is not about coercion. This love working well doesnÊ¼t complain or ask, “Do I have to?”
Do you know this love is a good picture of what it is like to be in a relationship with God? First, he pursued us. God made his happiness about what would make us happy. He sent his Son, Jesus to live a life of love for us. The cross of Jesus speaks of the love of God, and just how far he would go to ensure our happiness and salvation. And the happiness he won for us is our complete forgiveness, it is peace, it is joy, it is the sure hope of eternal life.
And our salvation has absolutely nothing to do with what weÊ¼ve done for him. In the book of Ephesians it says it is by grace weÊ¼ve been saved and this is not from ourselves. He pursued us, won us, and forgave all sin.
But does this mean it doesnÊ¼t matter what we do in response? Think of it this way. If you did buy flowers for that special someone, and they didnÊ¼t care, didnÊ¼t thank, didnÊ¼t give a hug. How would you feel? ItÊ¼d be a sign they donÊ¼t really care about that relationship. So with us. God has done so much for us and he looks for a response to his love. Not because he is needy, but because he delights in that relationship.
When he gave the Israelites the 10 commandments he spoke of the purpose of his law. He said this, “Now if you obey me fully... you will be my treasured possession.” (Exodus 19:5) Basically, he invites them to find their happiness wrapped up in what makes him happy. Not because theyÊ¼d be saved if they followed good enough. He already saved them and did that work of love. He rather invites them into a deeper, lasting relationship as they follow.
God offers us the same. What if we too found our happiness wrapped up in the things that makes God happy? How would life be different? I believe we might just find true happiness and satisfaction, and a relationship deeper and better than any other. May God so move you to love him and follow him, remembering how he first loved us. ï¿¼