A lot of times I’ve asked questions like “what does God want?” or “will You show me the desires of Your heart O Lord?” And often times His answer is unexpected, so much so that I don’t really believe He’s spoken to my heart. It’s unexpected because I think God is going to tell me to do something valiant or sacrificial to show how much I love Him, but often times the Holy Spirit’s whispers something profoundly simple like “I want to love you” or “I want you to love me.”
I find myself questioning such messages because, well to put it bluntly, I’m a guy.
I’d rather watch action, shoot-em-ups over chick flicks any day. My son has developed a whole repertoire of manly grunts to express himself, and he didn’t get them from his mother; I can assure you of that. I don’t fully understand the concept of love beyond merit. I want to work hard and be respected and loved for the things I do for my family, so the idea that God doesn’t desire my hard work or some kind of sacrificial act on my part in those moments of seeking His will makes me pause and question if it’s really Him I’m hearing.
But on the other hand, I know it’s not me because I wouldn’t come up with something as sentimental as “love”. I’d almost certainly imagine some grand act of true sacrifice, like emptying our checking account and giving it to a homeless person as the measure of God’s will for my life.
But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that through the prophet Hosea, God says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) And Jesus later quotes this scripture when He says, “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)
This is the God I serve. He’s not interested in anything we can do for Him. Honestly, what could we do? What could we give Him? What could we do to help Him out? Is there anything He doesn’t already have?
He’s not interested in our works. He’s not interested in our sacrifice on His behalf. What He wants is our hearts. He wants relationship. He wants to show us mercy so that we can know Him and be known by Him in order that we might truly live.
And knowing that His desire is mercy and relationship just makes me want to work all the harder for Him, not because I have to or because I can move God by small actions, but because I have received such mercy, such love, how can I do otherwise? So, I humbly, and somewhat sappily, love my God with everything I’ve got just like He asks me to; that is after all what He really wants.
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Featured Non Profit
This month a Christian non-profit that is worthy of support is being featured every day until Christmas. The criteria for being featured are that they bring glory to God, they are financially accountable, and finally they must have a mission that includes one of the following: reach the lost, empower believers, or help those in need in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today’s featured non-profit is the Abba Fund.
The Abba fund is a non-profit in Greensboro NC that provides financial assistance to Christian families going through the adoption process. The costs associated with adoption today are astronomical; depending on the state, it can be between $10,000 and $20,000.
In addition to helping the fatherless as Christians ought to do, the thing that struck me most about the Abba fund was their system of operation. They give interest free loans, without any kind of collateral. They call them “Covenant Loans”. Basically the couple looking to adopt enters into covenant with the Abba Fund and God that they will pay back the loans, so that other couples may adopt other children with the money. If you read through their FAQ, you’ll see their biblical reasons for this system, and I for one think it’s sound.
View the video below if you want a better picture of the Abba Fund: