The things we love

Psalm 119:124 “Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love”

What things do you most desire in life? What is it that you love? What things do you most like to do? Who do you most want to be with? What’s in your heart of hearts? What makes you tick? All these questions are means of getting at an understanding of who we are and what we love.

We naturally want people to treat us in a way that is in alignment with our loves. We enjoy receiving gifts that facilitate and foster the things we love. If we love to fish, when someone gives us a fishing rod, or goes fishing with us it gives us joy. When we get a chance to fish, we are excited about it and look forward to it. In the act of fishing, we are contented and happy. Substitute any other activity, person, place, or thing that you really love in place of “fishing” above, and I think you’ll find agreement in these thoughts.

Interestingly, in the verse above, the psalmist doesn’t say to God, “deal with your servant according to the things I most love.” He doesn’t say “give me what I want.” In this prayer, he isn’t focused on his own desires and wants. Rather, he asks for God to deal with him according to what God loves. He wants most what God wants most. And what could that be? All we need do is look at Jesus when he walked the earth for this answer.

Jesus loved to love others. He wanted to heal them, to show compassion toward them, to encourage them, to teach them the wonderful mysteries of the kingdom of God. Above all, He wanted them to be saved, to have eternal life. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” Jesus said he came into the world and that His whole purpose for condescending from glory to the cross was to save the world.

This is what makes God’s heart beat. When a sinner repents and turns to God, this is what brings great rejoicing to Heaven (Luke 15:10). And once a person is saved, God loves to see that person grow in their knowledge of Him and to mature into the image of Christ. These are the things that thrill the heart of God. It’s his heart of hearts.

So, how do you pray? What do you want most? What do you ask God for? Do you want him to deal with you according to what you want (which is often not what’s best for us), or do you want what God wants, even if it means sacrificing what you want to bring glory to him? Jesus prayed as he approached the cross, “Father, not my will but yours be done.” May the God Who is love conform us to His image so that His desires are our desires and the things He loves are the things we love.  May we truly love with the kind of love with which He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

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