There are certain phrases that automatically turn on my deaf ears. “If you love me…” “If you like me…” “But, I worked so hard…” “You/they/somebody owes it to me…”
I have no real explanation for my reaction except that I know that when I hear it I will be ask to do something that I really do not want to or should not be done! I react as if I am absolutely certain that the person making the statement is trying to manipulate me and I refuse to be manipulated. The request always seems to come from someone looking to get that extra bit out of life knowing that they do not deserve it and selfishly wanting it anyways.
I also find it sadly humorous how I dislike hearing this and at the same time still personally use them with God. I know that I am very precious to him. Rather than plead to his mercy, which means that I would be out of control, I use the “if I am precious to you…” or “if you really love me…” statements as levers.
The impulse to use these statements is, I am happy to report, getting less, however they are still present. The need and drive to use them is changing because of a two fundamental keys.
First, I am increasingly honestly aware of just who and what I am. I am a selfish human being, period. I can wrap if up anyway I like, but the fact remains, I am selfish at the core. Given this fact, everything but one thing I can ask will be tainted with my motive.
Second, the one thing that is still selfish and life changing is my request for God to come and do His stuff. I want this desperately and passionately to consume every aspect of what I am.
As I daily remake this commitment I find the words “if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him,” (Romans 8.9) my statement of life changing fact.