In driving to Spain for the conference this last week, we passed a lot of McDonald’s. They have an interesting ad campaign that has caught my eye many times. Most of the restaurants have “Venez comme vous êtes” written somewhere on a billboard or window. This translates to “come as you are,” and it seemed out of place for McDonald’s to say, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made. Mcdonald’s wants everyone to know that they are happy to serve you no matter your age, race, gender, etc. It made me think of this song by David Crowder.
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
That is such a beautiful truth. I don’t have to do anything to make God love me. I can come to him right away, with all of my faults, tears, and everything that is going wrong in my life, and he will welcome me with open arms. He loves me – just as I am. Many times when I wake up in the morning, feeling anxious, trying to get my life together, he simply draws me into prayer with him. He simply wants to spend time with me, even with all of my faults. I love this C.S. Lewis quote:
“God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us.” -C.S. Lewis
As a believer, my desire should be to look more and more like God every day. This got me to thinking – Is God’s attitude of acceptance one that I exhibit in my every day life? Do I love people with abandon no matter what they have ever done to me, no matter what they are struggling with in their life? Do others feel free to come to me “as they are?” That is my prayer. When I ask God to help me to see others the way he sees them, my heart fills with love for my neighbor. There is nothing quite as beautiful as loving with God’s love. While my love is selfish and circumstantial, His love is unconditional and everlasting. Talking about love brings a very famous passage to mind.
1If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This passage reminds me that nothing I do has any value if it is not rooted in love. I once read somewhere that starting in verse 4, we should strive to be able to replace the word love with our names. That exercise is quite convicting. However, God allows us to come as we are, and then he works on our hearts so that we may look more like him.
That’s just it – with God’s love, people can come to me as they are, but I should also love them too much to let them stay that way. Because of my deep love for them, I should want them to come to a saving faith in Jesus and begin to live a life that honors the Lord.
It is absolutely mind blowing that that is God’s attitude towards me. I can come to him just as I am, and he loves me so much that he works in my heart to make me look more like himself. He loves me way too much to let me keep being “just as I am.” The song doesn’t say “you’re perfect the way you are.” It says we are burdened, shameful, broken, and hurt, and God loves us so much that he will help us through all of it.
Remember: You can go to God as you are and he will help you accept others as you are. When you ask him to help you see others the way he sees them, you can’t help but love everyone you meet.