Oswald Chambers asks, "Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Himself?"
"Yes, Lord, I am."
How often I pick the path of performing for him over loving him.
I'm embarrassed to tell you that I take refuge almost every day in my idea of what Jesus wants. I'll venture to say that most of us have our own ideas of that, and we feel satisfied or even prideful when we manage to put checkmarks in our spiritual 'to do' list or paste in gold stars when we successfully avoid what's prohibited.
Give me a Bible to read. Give me your prayer requests. Give me a 40-day fast every year. Give me the chance to turn over my money. Give me some act of service to do. Give me lots of opportunities to be nice, nice, nice. Just don't make me do something that others might not like. Don't make me face any danger. Don't cloud any black and white issues with something gray. Above all, don't make me put down what I hold dear - my people, my reputation, or my work.
The rich young ruler walked away sad. As it turned out, his devotion was to his idea of what Jesus wanted. Jesus surprised him by demanding something he did not anticipate - a love that would make him lay down everything he held dear and follow a wandering rabbi to unknown places living a life he couldn't reconcile with what he'd always believed.
David, on the other hand, lived. Looking at David's life, there is a pretty fair balance between action and adoration, but if one outweighed the other, David's love of God trumped his behavior, even in an age of Law. God reminded Samuel as he was about to anoint David as future king, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)
According to Acts 13:22, "'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'" This verse seems to link David's distinction as a man after God's heart, with action - doing what God wanted him to do.
This is really the crux of the matter for us. Do we merely believe in him and serve him carefully, or do we love him and follow him, even if it means living with the contempt of others - even if it makes life untidy, even if it departs from what we always thought Jesus wanted?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."
It seems to me that when we love God, we please him most. The ruler came minus sins, but also minus love and was sent away sad. David came dancing and loving and yes, sinning. Expressing the most fervent contrition, David deplored his own sin, but he neither walked self-consciously through life nor stopped running toward God with a passion. It was David's passion that pleased God and moved him in love to call this flawed king a man after his own heart.
And that is my desire as well.
excerpts from a blog post: here