By Marie Wells Coutu

A high school football coach we know has a habit of saying, "Look at me now," to his players when he's telling them something important. Sometimes this habit carries over to his conversations with my husband. Apparently he believes you will hear what he's saying if you are looking at him.

Maybe he is onto something. I could always tell my children were listening to me if they looked at me. When they looked in another direction while I was talking, I had reason to believe they were not paying attention to what I said. And later their actions would prove I was right.

Seems to me that's a lesson we can apply to our relationship with God. When we focus on ourselves, our troubles, or our desires, it becomes harder to hear what God might be saying. But when we spend time in God's Word and focus on who He is, we can better understand and pay attention to what He wants to tell us. And later, our actions will demonstrate that we have heard what God said.

Like the old hymn says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus...and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Can you recall a time when you found that looking at God helped you gain better perspective on your circumstances? Comment and join the conversation!

 
 
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I John 4:16-18

By Vera Warren Carroll

In this world that far is from the perfect world God intended, we have mind-boggling opinions and versions of love.  A child disobeys and ignores the parents’ instructions but says, “Mom, Dad, I love you.”  A husband abuses his wife and returns with flowers and a smile saying, “I love you.”  A mother disciplines a child with a brutal beating that leaves cuts, bruises and sometimes broken arms or ribs and says, “I do this because I love you.”  We live in a society where a young woman will chase after a young man who often ignores her publicly, doesn’t call unless it’s to his advantage, and belittles her in front of others, but the young woman only remembers the kind and loving words he shares during their intimate moments and says, “He loves me.”  This type of love operates out of fear.  Perhaps this is why many are confused about their love for God.

God doesn’t have to rely on tricks and mind games to show His love.  He doesn’t have to expose you to all manner of mental and physical abuse and say, “I do it because I love you.”  His love cannot be imperfect in any way.  Yet many see the confusion of life and its troubling events as reflecting God’s love, and they respond to God in a confused and abusive manner.     

God’s love for you can be seen in His Word and all that He does and promises to do for you.  He is sovereign, so He cannot make a mistake, He cannot lie, and He’s all knowing, supreme, powerful and absolute.  He doesn’t have to try to love you; He loves you.  He sacrificed His Son because of His love for you.  He gave you His Word that is alive and active if we will just read it, believe it, and receive it, walking in complete confidence of His love.

God is moved by your love for Him but not your manipulative love.  We often try to end our trials of life by trying to manipulate God to show His love for us by fixing our problems.  But God is looking for your complete confidence in His love.  He only wants to know how much you love Him.  Throughout the Bible nations and individuals experienced great problems, but God’s love for them never changed.  He loved them.  What changed their lives is when they stepped out on faith and trusted God, Who showed perfect love that destroyed any fear they had.  He was moved by their perfect love through faith in Him.

We want God to see our love much like the abusive mother or husband, the disobedient child or the young man who is only nice when it’s to his advantage.  We say we love God but we disobey Him, abuse Him with our words and don’t have time for Him unless we have a need and it’s to our advantage.  Our love for Him becomes more about us and what we want.

Do we really love Him? How will he know?

A song by Angelo and Veronica says, “The only way He’ll know is how I live.”  As the song says, we say we love Him and that we care.  We go to church, know the scriptures, and know all the right words to say, but the truth is, “The only way God will know how much we love Him is how we live.”

Do you love Him?

©2011 Vera Warren Carroll