Unusual God - Part 1 [Devo]

Going Deeper | Unusual God - Part 1
Selfish Chelle-fish

My family has always called me Chelle. I adore this nickname, especially when it comes from a tiny niece or nephew. My love of swimming and the ocean, studying its vast array of life and colorful shells, could perhaps be used to consider myself a “Chelle-fish.” I was telling my kids this joke, and my oldest surprised me by saying, “Mommy, if you don’t share your cookies, you’ll be a Selfish Chelle-fish!”

I was surprised on Sunday to hear Pastor Tim describe himself as selfish. I suppose it’s easy to see this quality in others, especially after a fresh bout of the holidays under our belts. People pushing each other aside to grab Black Friday deals, or cutting each other off at busy intersections and checkout lines. I think it’s often harder to see this in ourselves, though. It’s easier to push this judgement onto others, leaving ourselves to feel superior to such behavior.  But the more I consider my actions and the reasons for them, the more I realize that they are largely, if not exclusively, selfish. Even in actions that I think of as being altruistic, such as giving or doing a favor for a friend, I find myself looking for thanks or recognition.

Matthew 6:3-4 reads:
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

In his acrostic of the word “love,” Pastor Tim explained that God is love in that He looks out for our good, oversees our salvation from beginning to end, vouches for us, and that His love endures all challenges.

In the explanation of his second point, he mentioned that it’s difficult for people to understand selfless love. In a world of commitment phobias, we seem to always be looking for the next best thing. How can we trust anyone, even God, to never fail to love us?  

Pastor Tim led us to Romans 8:29-30, which reads:
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”  

So why should God love us so unconditionally, forgiving our wrongdoings and selfishness?  Because He sent Jesus to die on the cross to take away our sins and declare us justified, righteous, not guilty. In the mind of God, we are predestined to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, to become His brothers and sisters. We can trust this love, reciprocating this relationship with devotion to Him and His plan for us, by responding to Him when He calls us by name.  

Join me this week in searching for ways to be truly selfless, to give without expecting reciprocity or recognition. By giving with love, we can feel a bit of His love and begin to understand God’s loving commitment to us for all time.    
Author: Michelle Lemley, Nursery Coordinator