I once wrote an article about Jesus’ pleasant habit of interrupting our lives. I would like to build on it.
Sometimes we believe we must be deserving of mercy before we can have it. We think we must earn spiritual power before we can experience it. We are burdened by condemnation and so we fast and pray; sow and do good works.
Living in love counters feelings of condemnation. When you actively walk in love, you live the life God originally intended for you. You actively share in his nature. John, the Apostle speaks of this:
“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.” (1 John 3:18-24 MSG)
He goes further to say:
We love because we want to be like our heavenly father and because he has provided the grace for it. We do not love to buy God’s favour or to build up equity so we can make demands in prayer.
God loves and wants the best for us. If we tell him in simple terms what our needs are, he will address them. That’s what fathers do.
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” (Luke 11:10-13 MSG)
You should learn the art of meditation so you can hear God’s voice and get his feedback. Learn how to create quiet spaces in your heart and to consider things deeply in your mind. Don’t be so quick to jump out of bed in the morning or to go to sleep at night. Think of the things you’re concerned about and lay them before God, uninterrupted. Write them down if it helps. I have learnt that in those quiet spaces, God will drop suggestions in your heart. He will ask clarifying questions and speak of alternatives you never considered.