Today's Gospel: John 14:21-26
"Jesus answered them and said to him, 'Whoever loves me will keep my word.'"
A funny memory I have from childhood is this girl, Linda (name changed), always saying: "I'll give you ___ if you'll be my best friend!" The item in the blank changed depending on what new toy or treat she'd recently acquired.
Obviously, in her desperation to have friends, she was willing to use whatever bribe was necessary. It's only now, looking back as an adult, that I see she put more value on her toys and treats than she put on herself.
Jesus knew His own value, always. Never once did He try to leverage the promise of His Father's kingdom for His own popularity. In fact, He was quite clear that if people followed Him, they'd have to sacrifice and deny themselves. Yet, they flocked to Him in droves.
The ones who truly loved Him did the hard work of following His commands, not because they'd get some treat or toy. They followed His commands because it brought them joy to do so. Making right choices catapulted their hearts into a positive spiral. Their love for God inspired them to want to please Him; the satisfaction of pleasing Him expanded their capacity to love Him even more, and on and on.
There's a parenting tip in this for all of us. Like Jesus, we need to hold true to the expectations and standards we set for our children, and not compromise just to win their approval. Instead, our love for them should inspire them to want to make right choices to please God and us. Once they do, the satisfaction they'll feel will expand their ability to follow His commands, and ours.
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What motivates me to make right choices?
Dear God, remind me that, no matter my situation, I have great value in Your eyes. May I always hold firm to that truth, and make right choices because of it and Your love for me.
Copyright 2020 Claire McGarry
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About the Author
Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.