I remember playing this game as little girl. The anticipation of pulling that last petal and finding out if the little boy that sat next to me in music class had eyes for me too was almost too much to bear! Of course, if I didn’t like the answer, I could always pick another flower and start all over again.
In my adult life, I find myself playing a similar game. Not pulling petals but rather striving for the love and affection of the mate God has given me. I continually fall into this mindset that I operate within a performance based relationship. If I don’t keep the house immaculate or if I burn the chicken, I assume that my husband’s love-meter drops a little. I apologize to him profusely, and mostly he just laughs at me. He assures me that he loves me no matter what I do…or don’t do!
But does his unconditional love give me the excuse to lie around and watch Netflix all day and let my child eat Cheerios off of the floor? Absolutely not! As he is driven to accept me with grace due to his love for me, I should be equally motivated to perform my duties to the best of my ability and take genuine efforts to minister to and care for my husband’s heart.
Unfortunately, maybe more often than I play this game with my husband, I play this game with Jesus Christ. Of course, this is silly because He loved me when I was dead in trespasses in sin, when I did not have a care for his truth, and when I was lost in utter darkness (much more serious offenses than a messy house or burnt chicken). Thinking about this just makes me want to break out into “Amazing Grace!”
Just as it was “not of works” at the time of salvation, the truth remains that God’s love and care for me is not in any way dependent on my performance for Him. God loves and values me on my good days when I get up early to read His Word, respect my husband, lovingly care for my child, and speak the truth in love, and He loves me still on the bad days when I snooze my alarm, resent my husband, begrudgingly meet the basic needs of my child, and show off the skills of a smart mouth.
Does His amazing grace give me an excuse to selfishly seek my own desires and live independently of the truth of Scripture? Absolutely not! Rather, it should compel me to love Him in the best way that I can: by giving it all back to Him, honoring Him with each and every action and decision of my day.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Do you share my striving struggle? I pray that you will find REST in His boundless love and matchless grace today and, in this freedom, find motivation to serve Him to the best of your ability!