Lessons from the Carpool Lane

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I‘ve had the luxury of being able to pick my son up after school for the past two years.  We have a reward system in place where he earns a trip to Sonic for a happy hour drink after school if he’s had a great day with his behavior.  It’s a great bonding time where we can talk about his day, or whatever else is on his mind.

As I pull up into the carpool lane, it’s easy to see what kind of day he’s had.  If he’s shuffling his feet while looking down at the ground, it hasn’t been a good day.  His speed doesn’t pick up when he makes his way to the car.  When he’s had a great day he’s looking for me.  When our eyes meet a smile beams on his face and he quickly makes his way to the car.  It’s the best feeling in the world.

It got me thinking about my relationship with God.  How does my Heavenly Father react to my good days and bad days as He waits in the carpool lane to pick me up?

God Wants and Expects the Best from Us

Every time I pull into the school parking lot I expect that my son has had a great day.  As a father, I long for the best for my child.  I want him to be successful and happy.  I ache for him when he has a bad day.

If I feel this way towards my child, how much more does God feel this way towards us?  When encouraging us to ask God for our needs, Jesus said the following.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? – Matthew 7:11 (KJV)

My wife and I instituted his reward system so we could give him good things to reward him for his behavior.  We want him to succeed, to prosper.  Consider what God told Jeremiah about His chosen people.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

Perhaps the New International Version puts it better.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God Love for Us Isn’t Earned and Doesn’t Change

Not once has it entered my mind that my love for my son would be anymore or less depending on what type of day he’s had.  Good or bad – I love him.  It’s a lesson that I think he’s finally learned, but sometimes, when he’s really bad, he doubts it.

If I’m honest, I feel that way towards God when I’ve gone astray.  It’s taken me decades to learn that God’s love towards me never changes.  I can’t make Him love me any more or any less by my actions.  Paul tells us this about God’s love.

8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. - Romans 5:8-9 (KJV)

John tells us that God is love.

8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:8-10

God loved us first – even while we were enemies against Him.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  So His love for us won’t change.  If you think you can earn or lose His love, check out this verse.

For there is no respect of persons with God. – Romans 2:11

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done.  It doesn’t impress God.  His love is unconditional.

God Rejoices for Us and In Us

When my son has a great day I rejoice for him and with him.  My love for him doesn’t change, but the joy I have in him increases.  I think God’s the same way.

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Psalm 147:11

19He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. – Psalm 18:19-20

Just as my son brings me great joy when he does well, we bring great joy to God when we do well.  He yearns to joy over us.

Have You Experienced God’s Love and Joy?

I look forward to spending that bonding time with my son after school.  When he doesn’t earn this reward it grieves me because I have to miss out on joying over his accomplishments with him.

What about you?  Are you spending time bonding with God as He rejoices in you at your good works?  Do you know how much He loves you?  How much He believes in you, and expects you to do great things?  Are you shuffling your feet, or are you running towards Him?

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Brad's Big Feet Marketing helps people on a limited budget enlarge their online footprint using blogging & social media. His other blog, Marketplace Christianity, examines faith's role in how we earn and spend money.

Brad has written 95 awesome articles for us at Bradley A Harmon

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kissie September 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

I’ve been absolutely horrible lately, and I KNOW it.

This morning in a corporate prayer setting, the woman asked the Lord for forgiveness for the time we’ve dedicated to chat rooms and online sites compared to the time we’ve spent with Him. Right then and there I knew, He who should be first in my life have not been and this is one reason I’m always assessing the time and energy I apply to blogging and the like. What will it all mean in the end? What does in mean now? I try my best to have a message to help, edify, encourage, and comfort those who come my way. Thank you for another gentle reminder today, He used you to drive home the message I received earlier.

Be blessed,
Kissie´s last [type] ..My 1st Grandparents Day

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Brad Harmon September 14, 2010 at 11:17 am

My pleasure Kissie. Isn’t it amazing how God can speak through us in unintended ways?

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DiscipleshipGuy February 18, 2011 at 1:41 am

WOW! Talk about conviction for the chat rooms thing! That really hits home! Thanks for sharing that!
DiscipleshipGuy´s last [type] ..Matthew’s Mind- Who do You Think God is

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Bradley J. Moore September 30, 2010 at 8:26 am

Well this explains all your facebook and tweets about Sonic!
Thanks for a very encouraging post. We all need to hear this, that God loves us unconditionally, again and again. Because we forget. Especially in the churn of business, in the midst of the challenges of living and getting through every day… to sit back and take a breath and know that God loves us. It’s incredible.

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DiscipleshipGuy February 18, 2011 at 1:45 am

Brad,

Great post! I really like the thought provoking post! One thing it makes me wonder about even more than my behavior and how it’s effecting God, but rather am I spending the time in the car with Him so to speak? Do I truly understand how He see’s me and looks forward to our time together or do I just understand this theologically. Many times we miss having a relationship with God because we don’t see Him as a Father.
DiscipleshipGuy´s last [type] ..Matthew’s Mind- Who do You Think God is

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Brad Harmon February 20, 2011 at 1:00 am

I’m certainly guilty of getting the theology but missing the relationship. I feel like I’m the kid in the back seat asking if we’re there yet rather than enjoying the one-on-one time with God during the journey. I’m so thankful He’s such a loving father with me.

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