He sat on the hill staring at me. Every time I walked by the window, I could feel his eyes following me. Our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Joe, missed me. The hectic pace of the weekend and the cooler temperatures had made me less motivated to spend time outside with our dogs. Joe was letting me know that I needed to slow down, throw on my winter coat, and push aside any other excuses that would keep me housebound.
I made my way into his bark park, filling his food and water bowls. He picked up his ball and headed over to our usual play place. Joe's favorite activity is fetching his ball. He loves to run. And truth be told, when we play, I tire of the game long before he does! But today was different. Although he had carried his ball with him, he wasn't interested in playing. He just wanted me to cuddle with him, being sure to scratch every square inch of his neck and back. He was more interested in spending time with me, than getting me to play with him.
Joe's behavior gave me a serious reason for reflection. It's so easy for me to get caught up in thanking God for what He does, and the blessings He gives me, that I forget to thank Him for who He is. It IS appropriate to thank Him for the blessings He pours out so abundantly, but I must remember to focus on Him and not just His gifts. Thanking Him for the opportunity to develop a relationship with the mighty King of the universe is SO important.
David gives us a great description of our God, "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth," (Psalm 86:15; KJV). And again, in the book of Psalms, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy," (Psalm 103:8). Experiencing His vast love, His grace, and His patience is priceless. He is so much more than anything I can imagine. Yet in spite of my short-sightedness, He invites me into a close Father-child relationship.
When I ONLY focus on what He does for me, I'm in danger of relegating the Creator of the universe to the role of a genie. I set myself up as the master, and expect Him to do my bidding. Satan loves nothing more than this subtle shift in power. Self taking control rather than submitting to the Lordship of Christ. My prayers become self-focused, and it's all about my will being done rather than His.
When my desire is to draw near to God for the sake of knowing Him better, proper focus is restored. I'm aware of His holiness, and realize His rightful position as Lord of my life. As I read His Word, trusting in His sufficiency, He directs my paths, giving my life purpose. I'm able to pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done!"
Do you find yourself treating God like a cosmic genie? You enjoy the blessings He's given you, but you don't spend much time with Him? Set aside some time, to get to know the One who has blessed you. He's waiting for you today!
Prayer:Heavenly Father, Thank You for who You are - the sovereign God of the universe, who is in control of it all. Forgive me for the times I focus more on the gifts than the Giver. I praise You for the opportunity You give me to develop a close relationship with You. Draw me to Your side. In Jesus' name, Amen.