If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.
To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “. . . but perfect love casts out fear . . .” once we are surrendered to God (1 John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.
Most of us who call ourselves Christians are more concerned with being lovely than we are with loving Jesus.
We expend so much anxiety, effort and indecision on trying to be as white as we can be that we often fail to offer God anything He actually has requested: reciprocal love.
In having children, God has granted me great insight into this idea of “right” relationship.
I want my kids to obey me.
I want my kids to want to obey me.
Mostly, however, I want my kids to love me.
I love them desperately.
I pray they would respond in kind.
Their service and conformity to my preferences and commands is a great honor to me and makes me swell with gratitude to God. But if their hearts were far from me in performing these tasks, the evidence of the relationship not being “right” would soon be communicated. The serving and lip service would cease to encourage my heart and would produce rather quite opposite the effect on my person.
Love does include duty, but love is not merely duty.
Put another way: You do not love what you do not serve.
You cannot serve as a substitute for love.