Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Love is not self-seeking

It's easy to 'love' someone you know you'll get something back out of. For example, you might invite more people to your party than your actual close friends, because you know you'll get more presents that way. You only have to spend a few minutes watching TV to notice that it's almost always the rich and glamorous who have flocks of 'friends' around them, that people flock towards the famous. Perhaps our obsession with celebrities is in part down to the idea that if you can get close to them, some of their fame will rub off on you. I'm guilty of trying it too--my brother went to pre-school with the son of the guy who makes VeggieTales :D. What actual relevance that has to anything...

But on an even more basic level, it can mean loving the people who are lovable, being friends to people who you're pretty sure will reciprocate. It's trying to make the input-->output formula work for relationships too, by expecting back what you put in. It's an easy enough trap to fall into. But the Bible says to 'love your enemies, pray for those who hurt you' (Matthew 5 33-34). Now, what are you going to get back from your enemies if you love them? Not a whole lot in the way of nice stuff--probably. Not at first anyway. But prayer does have the power to change things. It's like giving permission to the fairies in Artemis Fowl (now you're going to say you haven't read this brilliant book)--if they don't have the permission, they can't enter a human's dwelling. In the same way, God gave us power over the earth. He can't step in unless we ask him to.

I think the best way to look at this one is to examine your motives within friendships, to wonder why exactly you're inviting that person to your party.

Just remember:

God made you special and he loves you very much.

In His Likeness

Now, maybe you think it's a wee bit annoying to be told you look like your parents. Believe me, you probably don't have it as bad as me--I've been mistaken for my mum several times by people who know us both pretty well. At a distance usually, but it's still a little annoying when people call you 'Deb!', and it's like 'no, I'm Joanna'. But there's one parent I think everyone would like to look like.

He's the toughest guy in the universe, the smartest, the funniest (he played the world's first joke, let's not forget), the most awesome, so beautiful it hurts to look upon his face... And that guy made you in His likeness. "Come, let us make man in our likeness" (Genesis 1 v 26). Now, just think about that for a moment. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our heavenly daddy. If you've got his DNA in you, doesn't that mean you ought to reflect his characteristics?

I just want to encourage you to remember that not only is the biggest guy in the universe on your side as the perfect dad to point to and go 'my dad's bigger than yours' whenever troubles come along, but also that you are like him. And as you grow in maturity within your faith, or come to know him personally, you'll grow into being more like him. How awesome is that? You start to become more like the most powerful King in the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.