Dawn breaks over a crust of white out the window. It feels bleak today. What was once the fresh powder of potential is muddied and hardened, and I find my heart is in a similar place.
I want more.
More love flowing into me and through me.
The sun, this burning presence of white fire, ascends over the land, and I breathe in its life through the frosted windowpane. It returns with its promise to cast out the darkness. It is in this breathing that I realize the sun never moved. It was the earth that turned, a constant ebb and flow, back toward the burning face of light every morning and back toward the darkness every night.
Is this not how our hearts encounter the burning light of God? We are hungry, and we recognize this hunger and turn toward him. But when shadows grow long and the day grows old, we so quickly forget. We so quickly turn back to the darkness and the things that will never satisfy.
The sun doesn’t move; nor does our God. We may turn, but he remains. Life is meant to be a journey of keeping a gaze fixed on him, a journey of walking more fully immersed in his love, going deeper. It is only from this place of receiving the love of God that we can discover our purpose: to love him and love others.
The problem is not that we are unaware of this in our minds. The problem rests in our hearts, hearts from which we struggle to give love and live with purpose. The struggle comes when we fail to first receive the love God is constantly raining down. We must learn how to position our hearts and minds to receive more of his love. God’s love is already fully present in the lives of his children; he is calling us to learn to recognize it, to cultivate it.
When we are living in the fullness of God’s love, this love naturally flows through us and onto others. Our attitudes, words, actions, and motives flow from this love. When we give, serve and love out of self-effort, our love is not wasted, but it is not all it could be.
I have encountered the reality of good intentions with wrong motives again and again in my own walk. My intentions are good: I want to love others with the love of Christ. My motives are wrong: I want to love others with the love of Christ so that I can feel better about myself.
After much sacrifice on my behalf, I recall desperately desiring even a simple gesture of thanksgiving from a friend who received the fruit of my sacrifice a few years ago. When the thanksgiving never came, I was resentful and hurt. And then the nudge came in my spirit: Did I really serve my friend with pure motives, or did I somehow hope to feel better about myself as a result? If I had truly served unto the Lord, his pleasure would have been enough. My anger showed my hidden motives. I was somehow building my self-worth through pleasing others and seeking their affirming words. This is not the kind of love God is calling us to give.
God calls us to love well and need nothing in return, knowing that we are living, serving, and giving of ourselves for an audience of One.
I want his light to shine through me for the world to see, giving not of my own resources, but from his abundant overflow. May I never serve another person to attain one more notch in my spiritual belt or to fulfill some longing in my own empty soul. May I walk in the light, be filled with the light, and exude the light. This is the place where we find the fullness of life.