I Pledge Allegiance...
When Gary and I were dating I waited for him to say "I love you" first, then I was all in. When I knew he loved me, then my soul was free to love him and he had my full allegiance. As I have been reflecting, I am realizing it has been the same way with God for me as well. I don't know why I have such hesitation to love first--maybe one too many heartbreaks and feeling rejected inside?
The other morning Zach prayed "I pledge allegiance to the Father, amen." At first I wanted to yell at him. (Yes, I am the 'yeller' parent and that is typically my first instinct when one of my children do something that irritates me--I am still working on that parenting flaw. SIDE NOTE to my children--If it wasn't such an effective parenting tool I wouldn't do it as often--it's such a catch 22 because they seem to only hear me when our neighbors can as well...I am working on it.)
ANYWAY, at first I was frustrated with Zach for a prayer that mixed both the 'pledge of allegiance' at school and our morning prayer. But then in that instant I realized, "he's got it!". My 6 year old has simplified and has figured out what has taken me a few decades to figure out and embrace.
We all have our allegiance somewhere. At different times in my life my allegiances have been to different places; wine and other assorted adult beverages, family, friends, money, travel, sports, the list goes on... Where ever my affection or obsession was, there was my allegiance.
Zach's prayer rocked and simplified my little world. Allegiance to the Father. It is that simple.
The Bible says in Matthew 6:33 (NLT) "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.."--Seek God first. I used to think "what does that even mean?"--I am realizing it's really quite simple. To seek God is to realize He is already seeking me.
The foundation of 'seeking God' is to understand that He chose us first and He LOVES us first.
John 15:16 says (Jesus speaking) "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."
Allegiance to God doesn't mean we all have to commit our lives to standing on a street corner sharing Jesus with people. Although this blog is my street corner and thanks for stopping by. It's the corner of "Broken-mess and Beloved"... (I just thought of that and I am so getting something made with that on it to put up in my house!)
I bring the broken-mess and Jesus makes me His loved child--Beloved. It's so much easier to seek after someone who is seeking after you... I some times wonder if I could have ever said "I love you" to Gary if I didn't know he truly loved me? It doesn't matter now thankfully. And I am thankful that I realize now I don't have to seek after God for His love and approval--it was already there waiting for me to say yes. My relationship with the Lord is not some hokey-pokey dance or ritual and I am so glad it's not some list of 'do's and don'ts' I could never live up to. It's really quite simple. It's embracing that God chose me to be His child and He loves me, and He chose and LOVES you too! We don't have to make the first move--He makes the first move for us every day.
The word 'righteous' used to make me cringe inside. I felt anything but 'righteous'. But 'righteous' means: "the condition acceptable to God". What makes us 'acceptable' to God? Accepting Jesus and receiving His love makes us acceptable to God. There is NO behavioral standard we could ever live up to that can make us righteous on our own. It's Jesus who makes us righteous. Phew, what a relief for this soul with a laundry list of unrighteous acts. Here is the GOOD news--ultimately, it is belief in God NOT behavior that makes us righteous. That's it!!!
Again, my 6 year old taught me such a valuable spiritual lesson--"I pledge allegiance to the Father, amen." I would just add, "because He first pledged His love and allegiance to me."
Have a great week!
Daily Grace to you.
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