Because I Am Loved

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Are you doing things BECAUSE you're loved, or are you doing them so that you'll BE loved?

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5: 6-7 (NIV)

My friend, Kathrine Lee, once challenged me with this question: Are you doing this because you are loved or so that you'll be loved?

Her question is a great one.

Doing something "so that we'll be loved" is a trap many of us can get caught in. When I do something because I'm trying to get someone else to notice me, appreciate me, say something to build me up, or respect me more, my motives get skewed.

I become very "me" focused. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and the other person. And I can get stinkin' angry when I don't feel more noticed, appreciated, or respected.

I can get all twisted up and take my frustration out on myself and that person in an unfair way. I typically sabotage my own efforts and bend to discouragement and defeat.

But, doing something because I am loved is incredibly freeing.

I don't view the relationship from the vantage point of what I stand to gain. Instead, I look at what I have the opportunity to give. I am "God focused" and love directed. I keep my expectations in check. And I am able to lavish the grace I know I so desperately need. I live free from regret with clarity of heart, mind, and soul.

So, how do I know if I'm doing things because I'm loved or so that I will be loved? See how easy or hard it is to apply this Scripture:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5: 6-10 NIV)

Because I am loved, I can humble myself.
When I'm trying to be loved, I must build myself up to look better.

Because I am loved, I can cast all my anxiety on Him.
When I'm trying to be loved, I cast all my anxiety on my performance.

Because I am loved, I can resist Satan and stand firm in my faith.
When I'm trying to be loved, I listen to Satan and stand uncertain trying to rely on my feelings.

Because I am loved, I know God will use this to make me stronger - and I want that.
When I'm trying to be loved, I don't want to be made stronger - I want life to be easier.

Indeed, I want to pursue life, relationships, and the goals I set from a healthy and free vantage point — because I am loved.

Dear Lord, I don't want my motives to get skewed today. Help me to not be so 'me' focused. I want to live each day knowing that I am loved. Living because I am loved is freeing. I long to stop trying so hard. I know You love me, Lord and that You are making me stronger. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’” (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ask God to help you honestly assess if you’ve been doing things lately because you are loved or so that you’ll be loved. Then spend some time looking up and meditating on Scripture dealing with God’s love for you. Give yourself permission to believe and receive His love — knowing you don’t have to earn it and you can’t ever lose it.

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