"I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father. You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, He gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another."
John 15:15-16 (Message)
I'm currently reading the book "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen. As I'm reading it, I'm also searching the Bible for a deeper understanding of God's love for me. This is something I've seemed to struggle with most of my life. Different experiences in life built up this wall between my heart and His unconditional love. There are times when I've felt I must perform to gain His love, other times I've felt He doesn't love me because it didn't seem like He was answering my prayers, and times I've thought He only loves me because He has to. But through all of this self-reliance and doubt, God has never wavered in His love for me.
This passage shows us the relationship God desires to have with us. He doesn't want us to get caught up doing a lot of "acts" for Him and forget the relationship aspect. He wants to be our friend - talk with us, simply hang out with us, shared life with Him. He chooses to be our friend and yearns for us to grasp that concept.
Once we grasp hold of the love God has for us, He will begin to change us from the inside-out. For me, this year has taken my relationship with God to a whole new level. I'm learning to lean on Him for everything. I've learned I can trust Him and He will take care of me. Even after moving back to a town that reminded me of so much heartache and pain and after the loss of my grandpa, this year has surprised me. Instead of my typical pattern, I've ran to God. I've ran to the Helper. To the Comfortor. I was so tired of expereiencing the same cycle over and over again. I decided I was done doing all the "rituals" of being a Christian and began to search for something real - a friendship with Jesus.
I've seen first - hand the fruit of beginning a friendship with Him. So many times before, I was seeking His hand (aka "the fruit") instead of seeking His heart (aka "the friendship). As I've sought His heart, I've discovered a whole new dimension of peace, a whole new source of strength. I can truly say He has my entire heart.
Until we get to the point of complete and total surrender, we will drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out life. I encourage you to seek Him. Seek His heart. And let nothing deter you from it.
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He WILL give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4 (NIV)