Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Craving of Our Hearts, Part 2

After reading the comment left by Clay on my last post, I mulled over what he said about obedience being optional in the Christian life. I've long been intrigued by the concept of just what is meant by being a believer, a follower and/or a disciple of Christ.

Back when I gave the Pharisees of old a run for their shekels, I would have been hard put to come up with a definition of any of the above. During my twenties a couple of teens knocked on my door and asked if they could come in and talk to me about God. A bit reluctantly I said yes, and one of them lost no time in asking, "What qualifies you for Heaven?" I don't recall my fumbled reply but I do know it had something to do with rule keeping. When she responded with, "The only thing which qualifies anyone for Heaven is a relationship with Christ," I felt my face flush from the shame of not having known that.

Anyway, after reading Clay's comment I thought about my little granddaughter, Maddy, who is 4. Maddy absolutely adores her 8 year old cousin, Izzy. When Izzy walks into a room and sits down, arranging her legs just so, Maddy quickly adjusts herself so that she strikes the same pose. If Izzy practices dance steps Maddy jumps up to imitate every move (and how endearing it is, seeing how clunky she is next to the lithe and agile Izzy!) When the time comes to leave, Maddy has a meltdown sobbing, "But I don't want to leave! I want Izzy!" Such total adoration speaks volumes of where her heart is. I believe Izzy could ask for anything and Maddy would turn herself inside out to bring it about.

This focused love, resulting in clumsy attempts at imitation, the heartbreak that results in every leave taking reminds me of how I first fell in love with Jesus at the tender age of 5. It's what I long to have rekindled in my heart for, oh, would there need be any talk of obedience if He were my everything? Need lovers even speak of such horrors as infidelity when their hearts belong to one another, and every thought is of how to contribute to the other's well being?

I realized something during all this pondering:  I want to please God because in doing so I'm becoming more and more like His Son. And I want to be like my Beloved! I want my heart to expand as easily as it did as a child to embrace all of His loveliness; I want to shine with a light that is not of my own making. How superior is this attitude to the narrow-mindedness and yes, the high-handedness of keeping score of one's own righteousness! How tiresome it is working up one's own goodness and how everlastingly long every day seems when it is spent in such (futile) attempts.

I want to be like Jesus. Not because I have to or because my eternal destiny depends on it:  I want to because He is my Beloved, and like Maddy with Izzy it's enough just to be near Him. To think I may, little by little, become more and more fashioned into His likeness:  what bliss, what an honor, what Heaven!

2 comments :

  1. Deb, your thoughts here are incredible and spot on. This is the only real kind of obedience, but it becomes stifled as soon as freedom to not obey is lost. Total freedom is the only atmosphere in which love can exist and is what allows this kind of natural, spontaneous, joyful obedience to flourish and keep one firmly in the bonds of love instead of fear. Only obedience produced by the kind of love you describe here is real obedience. Everything else is a worthless imitation.

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  2. Clay,

    I wonder in how many a childish breast a spontaneous and pure love for Christ has been stifled because parents (well-meaning for the most part) put so much emphasis on stern duty and obedience? Something you wrote in your comment triggered a thought in me: what would it be like to grow up with the freedom to (dare I say it) be disobedient to God?

    What if one were taught to make their own choices in spiritual matters rather than render dog-like obedience (an obedience which I fear is often insisted upon to make the parents look good)?

    Yes, if we love the Lord we will keep His commandments, but how telling that the word LOVE comes before the word commandment! And can anyone actually keep one iota of the commandments without that love? No wonder Jesus said that the first and great commandment is to LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart. . .

    There's a whole world to explore here!

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Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.