The tendency is strong to say—“O God won’t be so stern as to expect me to give up that!” but He will; “He won’t expect me to walk in the light so that I have nothing to hide,” but He will; “He won’t expect me to draw on His grace for everything” but He will.
.--Oswald Chambers, Run Today's Race, January 8
Reflections by Ryan:
How can a God of love be so strict and demanding? How can a God of love be so unbending and rigid? How can a God of love be so jealous?
These questions arise because of our wrong understanding of what constitutes genuine love. How can a God who truly loves you and me and who is only interested in what is best for us, appear to be anything but these things?
In John 15:12-14 Jesus says, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command."
In these verses we see a glimpse of the love that God has for us. The greatest love is realized in Jesus dying upon the cross for our sins. Have you forgotten how much He loves you? Have you taken the love of God for granted? It is easy to do.
When we take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on our wants, our needs, our desires and our happiness, we tend to forget how much he really loves us. We forget when we substitute the abandoned, protective, self-sacrificing love that God has for us, for a love that is tolerant of our wishes, understanding of our wanderings, and accepting of our independence. Surely Jesus just wants us to be happy, doesn't he?
As we take our eyes off of the cross and put them on ourselves, the lines between happiness and holiness begin to blur. God doesn't want us to be happy—he wants something better for us. He wants us to be whole and complete. He wants us to be holy.
Holiness is only realized as we live in obedience to and relationship with God. "You are my friends if you do what I command." In love He expects us to give up that thing that controls us; He expects us to walk in the way of transparency and integrity and He expects us to trust in Him as we live our lives.
He expects . . . because He loves.
Run Today’s Race: A Word from Oswald Chambers for Every Day of the Year. Copyright © 1968 Oswald Chambers Publications Association Ltd. Scripture: NIV