It’s so easy, with our strong human desires—desires to be liked, to be loved, to be accepted, to find comfort, to find peace and joy and security—it’s so easy to view God as something that can make us look good to other people, something that can allow us to think well of ourselves . . . a box to check . . . or a vending machine, someone to ask for things we can’t figure out how to get on our own. Our culture teaches us to live that way: to think about our own interests and to pursue them vigorously and earnestly.
But when we focus on ourselves first and most, that’s not love. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the apostle Paul wrote, “Love is . . . not self-seeking.” That’s from verse 5. What love is . . . is thinking about another, as much or more than we think about ourselves. So, loving God means thinking about Him as much or more than we think about ourselves—just as He does, for us. Love is putting another’s interests before our own. So, loving God is putting His interests before ours—just as He does, for us.
It is not love when we use another person. It is not love when we try to use God. It is not love when we pray, not because we want to talk with a friend, a Father, a King, but only because we need something. Only when we want something.
Our God is outrageously good. He is so loving and so kind, and He loves it when we reach out to Him in our need. Here is what Holy Spirit just said to us, “I am a good Father. I love it when you turn to me. I love it when you recognize you need me. But often, your love for me is fickle; I am easily forgotten. Often, you think about yourself more than me—about what you want, what you think you need—more than Me.”
Part of maturing as people, as followers of Jesus, as children of God . . . is blowing it. And God is so patient when we do. But another part of maturing is putting away childish ways and growing up.
A few verses later in 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.” That’s verse 11.
Is it time for you to grow up?