I was talking to a friend recently and we were discussing our devotion to God and the way we sometimes take advantage of God. It's incredible, here is God and He loves us unconditionally. The God who spoke into existence everything and He loves me. No strings attached, no rules, no expectations, He just loves me. The apostle Paul says it this way:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Sometimes we get hung up trying to convince God that He should love us, but the fact is no matter what we do, good or bad, God will still love us. So here's what I do, I take advantage of God. I do the things that oppose God or don't do the things that would please God knowing that His love for me will not change.
I'll try to put this in human terms. Let's say you are dating someone and they like you a lot and you like them. And let's say that the relationship continues to grow and eventually you and this person fall in love. You are so in love. Perhaps you even get married. And maybe you get to the point where that person loves you so much that even if you made some mistakes it wouldn't really matter, they would still continue to love you. So eventually you begin to realize that no matter what you did this person still loves you. Little by little you test that love. It is small things at first, but eventually you find yourself cheating on them. Here you are married and having an adulterous affair. It is awful. You would be taking advantage of the one who loves you so much. I am amazed to find out that there have been couples who have stayed together after such a situation. I even know of a family who stayed together after one of them had a child with someone else outside of their marriage. Isn't that what we do to God? We agree to start a relationship with Him and we continually realize how much he loves us. But eventually we get to the point where we know that He loves us unconditionally and we slowly take advantage of God. Maybe we never have an outright rebellion, but subtly we take advantage of God.
So what does this mean for my devotion to God? I want to do right. I want to reciprocate God's love. I want to stop taking advantage of God. In my marriage I choose everyday whether I will do the things to make my wife happy. I don't do those things to earn her love, I know she loves me. It is not to prove to her my love, she knows I love her. Really whether I demonstrate my love to my wife or not is mostly about whether I want to humble myself before her, and do the things that make her happy. Do I want to put her needs and wants before my own? When our relationship is clicking it is because we both work hard at serving each other. We are not trying to earn each other's love, really we are simply living out the love we have for each other. I don't devote myself to God because I am trying to earn God's love, or because I need to prove it, but I simply need to live out the love I have for Him.