“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
John 14:12-14 (NLT) (Emphasis added)
Our conversation went like this:
Me: “Lord? I always thought that verse meant anything I ask in accordance with Your will would be granted when I ask in Jesus’ name. But there is only one qualifier in those verses: that it would bring You glory. So, as I understand it, as long as it brings You glory, I can ask You for anything in the name of Jesus, and You will do it. Then why am I still stuck? My greatest desire is to bring You glory...I just need a little direction on what You want me to do.”
God: “Is it? Is your greatest, most heartfelt desire really to bring me glory?”
Me: “OK, I confess I want to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and I try to avoid drama and upheaval whenever I can, but I truly believe my greatest desire is to be closer to You and to know You more intimately.”
God: “Why? Who benefits when you are closer to me?”
Me: “Well...I guess I do? I love being in Your presence; You know that. It is the sweetest, most wonderful feeling I know. It is what keeps me coming back early every morning for my quiet time with You. But now that You ask, I guess it feels a little self-indulgent. I thought the most important thing was having a deeply intimate love relationship with You, but now I can see the reason that relationship is so important is what will result from it. When I am in close relationship with You, everything I do will naturally bring You glory.”
At that point, I could sense God smiling although I didn’t “hear” anything further. Maybe I’m finally getting it? This conversation was the breakthrough I have been struggling in prayer to achieve for over three weeks! That struggle has made it impossible for me to even write my blog. As hard as I tried, I could not do it without His inspiration. It may seem like a small thing, but our motives are really important to God.
The ultimate purpose of our relationship with Him is not just to get “warm fuzzies” for ourselves. Although the glory of God’s presence is a beautiful benefit of a close relationship with Him, that is secondary to what we are called to do: actively share His message of love with the world, in whatever way He leads us to do that. It naturally delights Him that we love the intimacy we experience with Him - He wants us to enjoy all the blessings of His presence. But the true reason we are to seek Him - and His gifts - is so we can glorify Him to the world. Our lives are to reveal the benefits of knowing and believing in Him. If others see and experience His glory through what we do – shining the light of His love by being the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives - perhaps they will come to seek a closer relationship with Him, too.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much for prompting us to continually seek more of You. Thank You for not letting us become complacent, but for building a fire within us to learn and grow instead of becoming stagnant within the comfortable cocoon of Your love. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for teaching us and leading us into the deeper Truths of Your plan and purpose for us. Fill our hearts with Your desires and give us right motives to do Your will and bring You glory. Lord, thank You for making us feel special, loved and valuable, even as we strive to overcome our own self-centeredness. We worship and adore You with all of our heart, mind, body, soul and strength, and we lift up all of this in the precious, matchless, and omnipotent name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.
“A third time he asked him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, 'Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Then feed my sheep.' " John 21:17