Confession: I love Ellen DeGeneres.
Not only do I think Ellen is pretty stinkin hilarious, I also think that she tends to be a generally kind person. She’s always doing something nice – like giving everyone in her audience random presents, just because it’s Tuesday (for anyone out there who is wondering – presents for no apparent reason: always a hit with me). I think it would be fantastic to be Ellen’s friend.
It seems that Ellen has a lot of friends, but… one in particular might be my absolute favorite. Her name is Gladys. Oh Gladys.
If you aren’t familiar with the Ellen show, and have never been introduced to Gladys, then… you need to watch this clip. (At least watch the first two and half minutes, or the rest of this excessively long post will make NO sense.)
Maybe it’s wrong of me, but I think that Gladys is a funny gal. Lately it’s been rolling around in my head, though, that Gladys may have more to offer me than a few good laughs.
Gladys’s comment to Ellen, seemingly innocent enough, can quickly become a commentary on my life. Gladys says, “I love Jesus, BUT….”
When Gladys made her little quip, she was referring to a specific action (this is not meant to be an indictment of alcohol or homosexuality). My bigger concern is how easy it is for me to make the same quip. Only when I say, “I love Jesus, but…”, I am usually making a statement about much more than my actions. Rather, I end up making a statement about the overall condition of my heart.
Maybe it’s just me, but… I often find myself to be the queen of qualifiers. I’m hesitant to make any absolute statements, and instead want to follow up everything I say with a qualifying remark. Rather than fully committing, I want to leave myself a loophole.
It’s pretty sobering how much I want to “qualify” my love for Jesus.
“I love Jesus, but…”
I can be so quick to try to establish a loophole to my absolute commitment to loving Christ.
“I love Jesus, but because I don’t understand what He’s doing in my life right now, I’m gonna take that as my cue to try to figure it out on my own, and fix the mess He’s made.”
“I love Jesus, but because He’s not giving me what I want right now, I’m just gonna ignore Him until He blesses me again.”
“I love Jesus, but *insert willful disobedience here* sounds like more fun/less work/more likely to gain me acceptance, etc. right now, and… I’ll just ask for forgiveness later anyway.”
“I love Jesus, but I don’t feel close to Him right now, so I’m gonna spend all my time and energy on *insert idol here* and see if that makes things better.”
I want to lay down my crown as the queen of qualifiers.
I want to be able to say, “I love Jesus.” Period.
I love Jesus when what He is doing in my life makes sense. And, I love Jesus when what He’s doing in my life seems completely nonsensical.
I love Jesus when He gives me the desire of my heart. And, I love Jesus when He asks me to wait while He purifies those desires.
I love Jesus when I am enjoying my liberties in Him. And, I love Jesus when His Spirit convicts me of making more of my liberties than of the One who liberates.
I love Jesus when He causes me to recognize that there is nothing in this world that can satisfy me apart from Him. And, I love Jesus when He calls me to repentance because I’ve gone looking for satisfaction elsewhere anyway.
I love Jesus.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it…. (Cliché # 4?).
I love Jesus when He causes me to recognize the places where my own heart is divided, and gently woos me back to Him.
I love Jesus when His undeserved devotion for me not only calls for, but also makes possible, a wholehearted, absolute, no-loopholes, commitment to Him.
I love Jesus when He rescues me (over and over and over again) from trying to figure out how to love Him better in my own power, reminds me that I cannot do enough, try enough, or even be enough apart from Him, and then redeems me because I am His beloved (not the other way around).
I love Jesus, but… not as much as He loves me.