When it comes to my love for my husband, it's not always easy, it's not always fun, but most of the time, I do get something in return. My love for my husband is not always selfless though at times it is. When people ask others why they love their spouse, frequently the reason is because "they make me laugh" or "they mesh well with me". See? The word me went with both of those reasons. This isn't always the case. I love my husband because of who he is and how much he loves Jesus. I love my husband because of the man of God he is and the way he leads me to Christ. I love my husband for so many reasons, but often, it is selfish. I love him because he gets up and turns the fan on when I'm hot. I love him because he cleans the house and that makes me happy. I love him because he is willing to do what I love even when he doesn't like it.
Now, this isn't a bad thing, but it could eventually be a bad thing. If my love for my husband starts to morph into what he can do for me, then it's not healthy, no relationship is heathy if it's based on selfish needs and wants.
My relationship with my husband is a healthy one. It's not selfish and it's not based on how much my husband does for me, but my relationship with God often is this way. Why is that? I frequently ask God for things without telling Him how much I love him. If I did that with my husband, our relationship would quickly go downhill. If all I ever said to my husband was do this, do that, fix this, help me with that, I'm pretty sure I would quickly be ignored or my husband would start harboring negative feelings towards me. Luckily, God's love for me is not based on how I treat him (not that my husband's is either), but I should still strive for a relationship with God that shows him how much I love him instead of how much I need from him.
This past summer, when I was going to all of those camps with the middle school and high school students, I found that my prayer life was more thankful and loving towards God. I had so much more to say to God that wasn't asking him for something and wasn't begging for him to fix a problem in my life. As I got to know the real, true God of the Bible, I was able to start to praise him for who he was and is. I had so much more to say and so many more words to describe how great our God is! The more I fell in love with God, the less I asked for and the more I praised him. The same problems were going on in my life, the same frustrating situations, but I no longer was stressed about these things because I knew and I know that my God is bigger and stronger than anything that could ever come my way--I praised him for that. My love for God grew from a selfish love to a love where I knew I needed nothing but God in my life and I would be okay.
I can't say it has stayed like that. In order to really love someone and grow in that love, you have to continually be with them and talk with them. I haven't done that with God. I've slipped back a little, but my goal is to continue to strive for the kind of love with God that I had this summer. My goal is to love God so much that I never run out of reasons to thank him. I want to know God so deeply that it pours out into my life and into my words. I want to feel the fire and I don't want it to stop. What about you? Do you know God well enough to be able to praise him and thank him for who he truly is and how much he loves you unconditionally? Or do you only know God for how he has helped you along the way? I'm not shaming you. I've been where you are. I am where you are. Jump in the Word, read the Bible, really study it. Find out who God is and praise him for that. He loves you so much. He just wants you to see that and love him back.