God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
1 John 4:17-18 (The Message)
Do we realize how driven we are in this culture to be significant? Everyone, including me, wants someone to say, "You matter. I think you have something to contribute. You are valuable." One of the topics I talk about in Living With Unmet Desires is being jealous for our names. I have done so many hurtful things to others because I have been jealous for my own glory, my own significance. The core issue behind my relentless pursuit of other's approval is that I just want someone to love me.
I think the Lord must be grieved at our actions. We are loved more than we can possibly imagine. We are accepted in the Beloved Person of Jesus Christ. I am evaluating my own heart today with the following verses:
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Have I died--my carnal nature--is it now hidden with Christ in God? Or do I strive fervently to stand out bigger than anyone else because I don't understand how much more satisfaction is available when Christ's Name becomes more important than my own? I can so easily forget that when He is lifted up and exalted, I am lifted out of the pit I find myself in.
He must become greater; I must become less.
Is that really my goal? Or is my goal to become great in the eyes of others? What is my motive behind what I am doing? I can give lip-service to this verse, but does my life and the way I spend my time reflect that this Scripture is my life's purpose? Too often not, I am afraid.
I sing the words, "Jesus loves me, this I know."
But do I really know that? If so, then why do I struggle so much at times for significance? The reason is I don't understand what love is; at least not the Biblical definition of love. The human definition of love is one that will stroke my ego and make it all about me. But the biblical definition of love is quite different. The apostle Paul presents a stunning contrast of these two kinds of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God's love is all about the other person. It is selfless, encouraging, protective, a shelter, and not easily angered. I am slowly learning that to feel loved, I must realize that love has to be given to others. I have to spend myself on their needs, not promote mine. I cannot love this way without the Holy Spirit's help. It is impossible. But until I honor others this way, I will not feel loved myself. So counterintuitive to my flesh. Lord, help me!
Jesus, when my life is all about me, I cannot do enough to fill the ache caused by my need to feel loved. I sin against other people because I don't believe You love me like You say that You do. Jesus, help me in my unbelief! Your thoughts are not my thoughts. This I know full well. Change me so that my soul can say, Jesus loves me, this I know!