My wife and I have the advantage (And I sincerely mean that) of living in a rural town away from many things, and so on our long drives, we often use them as an opportunity to talk. Last night we had a pretty big discussion about people we know who think that the love they receive is based upon their performance. If you think about it, we're conditioned that way: if you're a star student, you get rewarded, a star athlete you get awarded, a star employee you get recognized or promoted, and the list goes on and on. Is it any wonder that we try and do the same thing to God? Is it any wonder so many people burn themselves out in trying to "work for" God? Whenever I hear someone say "I tried Christianity, and it didn't work for me," I always think "That's exactly why you failed." To follow Jesus the only thing you have to do is surrender your life to Him. Too many of us rely on our works, and think that God has a merit based system based off of what we "try" and "do." The fact is we can't do anything. We do the most good when we are close to Jesus, sitting at His feet. When we're that close to Jesus, we're acting more like Him and we are so naturally doing good that we won't even realize it until Jesus points it out to us. You and I can't do anything to earn God's love, and the Cross is proof of that. Christ died for you before you were ever even thought of by your ancestor's ancestor's ancestor. While we were His enemies, He died for us. We can't do anything about His favor of us, because He's already given it. What we can do is sit at His feet, get close to Him, and then, without even realizing it, as we draw nearer, we become even more like Him. The Holy Spirit will lead us to do the will of the Father without us even realizing it! Seek to draw near to God, love Him with everything, and by association with the Father, you'll begin loving His people as you should!
Luke 10:38-42 English Standard Version (ESV)
Martha and Mary
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus[a] entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.[b] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
1 John 4:7-12
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
a. Luke 10:38 Greek he
b. Luke 10:42 Some manuscripts few things are necessary, or only one