What would happen if you commanded a wheelchair-bound person to climb Mt. Everest and relentlessly insisted on it? Depending on the personality of that person, you’d probably be either laughed at, ignored, or punched. One thing is for sure though, you wouldn’t be very well liked. It is very difficult to love someone who constantly makes impossible demands of you. For many years even after I got saved, I couldn’t really say I really loved God? Was I grateful to God? You better believe it. However, I never felt affectionate towards him until recently. This weekend I realized why.
As I was thinking about things this weekend, something popped into my mind that has been said to me many times. “It shouldn’t matter to you what others think of you. The only thing that should matter to you is what God thinks of you.” Sound familiar? I’m sure many of us have heard this or been told this in one form or another. However, when I went to God about it, I got a very surprising response. Here’s how the conversation went.
Me: I don’t think I can do that.
God: Of course you can’t, nor do I expect or want you to.
God: What people think of you matters to you because they are important to you and you love them. If someone wasn’t important to you, you wouldn’t care what they thought of you, or at least you wouldn’t care as much. If you didn’t care what anyone thought of you, you’d be a robot, and I did not make robots. I have commanded you to love others as I have loved you. I love you so much and because I love you, it matters to me what you think of me. I desire your love in return and it grieves me when you reject me. So why should I expect anything different from you? The only thing I don’t want you to do is to let what others say about you (or what you think they are thinking about you) trump what I have said about you. I don’t want you to base your decision making on what others say because then they become your idol.
Wow! What an eye-opener! For so long I’ve listened to people telling me to do things that are impossible. When they insist that God is also telling me to do those things, I become resentful towards God because I know that the command is impossible. What God has asked me to do about not letting the voice of others trump his voice is a challenging command, but not impossible, and definitely not impossible with his grace. As a result, I find myself loving God more and more willing to listen to him. I am also soberly reminded about how dangerous it is when we misrepresent God and misinterpret his Word and his commands to others. It really is the difference between life and death because a relationship cannot survive under impossible demands. My relationship with God was definitely dead when I believed God constantly held over me an impossible measuring rod. However, as I am hearing and learning the truth about what God really desires from me, I find myself coming alive with adoration towards him. I realize that the things he tells me to do are because he loves me and wants me to enjoy my relationship with him and so he wants the barriers in our relationship removed. He does not set me up for failure, but ensures my success by his grace. After all that, it’s impossible not to love him!