Today I just finished reading a book called, No Graven Image. It's the only novel Elisabeth Elliot ever had published... didn't even know until recently that she had written a novel, did you? It's an amazing and powerful story, and I highly recommend it. But I don't want this post to turn into a book critique or plot summary, so I'll just let you read it for yourself, and if you want to talk about it when you've read it let me know and we'll get together and share.
There was a phrase used several times throughout the book: "Do what is true." I've been thinking a lot about what that means, and how to apply it to my life. "True" signifies authenticity, I'm sure, but what does it look like? When I live authentically, what are my motives and intents? And are they "pure" because they are good or because I am being honest? Sometimes when I am honest with myself I see that my motives are not good. Are my actions just means to an end that I anticipate, or are they truly an overflow of God's love in me? How do I distinguish between doing things with a purpose and doing things with an agenda... or is there a difference?
Jesus always did what is true. His responses to people were always linked directly to the attitude of his heart toward them and toward God's will. Why did he teach people? To show them the Father. Why did he do miracles? To give glory to the Father. Why did he love people? ...For me, that is hard to answer. It is a mystery to me why he loves me. The Bible doesn't say why he loves me, just that he does. Does he need a reason? I'm guessing that the reason is hidden in the Father, too, and his divine purposes.
So I teach people English so they can communicate and thrive in America, their new home. I teach people Bible stories through pictures and gestures to show them my friend and Lord, Jesus. I tutor students so they can learn and grow and gain confidence in their abilities. I pray for miracles so as to give glory to the Father before all people. But why do I love? Why do I spend time building friendships and investing time in relationships? Why do I hang out and play games and eat food with others? Sometimes I wonder if my love has an agenda, or if it really is as selfless and unconditional as I want it to be. I think I need to let go of my preconceptions of where my love will lead, and just love for the sake of loving. Love is patient and kind, which makes me think that Love does not press for a result. It continues to love whether or not a result is reached. It may cause heartbreak and pain on the Lover's part when response is delayed or denied, but it doesn't stop loving.
I think this is true: God has his own plan, and so he calls me to love. I don't need to manipulate or plot ulterior motives, because he doesn't need my help in accomplishing his purposes. But maybe if I am faithful in "Doing what is true" - that is, Love, then He can work through that Love to do his will.