Who has given God so much that He needs to pay it back? Romans 11:35
I came across this verse during devotions last week, and it has been percolating in my spirit ever since. The rendering in my devotion book was "Who has first given to him . . ." Echoes of 1 John: "We love because he first loved us."
He did the loving first. He did the giving first. Before we even had a physical existence, he gave us a world, perfectly situated and suited for our sustenance and pleasure. Before we knew him, he gave us families, homes, friends, all we needed to grow and thrive. Before we submitted to his Lordship, he gave his son for our sins. And he would have given all of this even if we'd rejected him completely -- which many people do. Because he loves us wholly, completely, unconditionally whether we love him back or not.
Who can out-love God? Who can out-give Him? How can we ever get to a point where we think God owes us something? "I've been such a good wife . . . you owe me a loving, attentive husband." "I've been such a good parent . . . you owe me a well-behaved child." I've been such a faithful Christian . . . you owe me an easy life." Such an attitude can only come from a complete lack of understanding of where we are without God. Such an attitude can only come from a misconception that we have what we have because of our own knowledge, skill and effort. Even the knowledge . . . even the skill . . . even the energy for the effort . . . are gifts from God.
And again, he gave us all this first. Before we loved him. Before we even knew him. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Because he IS Love. And such love inspires from us . . . attitude? Cheekiness? "You owe me . . . !" Oh, the shame.
As I've said before, the most together people I've known, the most godly and loving, are those with the deepest understanding of who they are and who God is. May I grow in that understanding every day.