So I have been battling for some time now with really figuring out whether I love God or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I do everything that signals love; I spend time with God, praise Him, pray to Him, go to church and even participate in ushering and running the church choir…So based on the above, I love God. I mean if we had to change this around to a woman/man defending their love for someone, we would believe them right;
- Spends quality time
- Shares activities
- Even pray for and with the partner…
I mean, what is love!!!??
I seriously cannot answer that. Nah, I’m not here to try and decipher love…I would have to understand God fully and my mind cannot even comprehend His grace over my life, let alone His favour…how much more His very nature: Love.
But because we are scholars and we seek knowledge so that we don’t perish (Hosea 4:6), we turn to the scriptures. Amongst the many references of love, I found 3 that stood out for me…basically starting to tell me how I can know if I love God…scary but let’s dive in.
- Found in John 14:15 – If you love me, obey/keep my commands
- Found in John 21: 15 – 18 (Jesus grills poor Peter)..v18 says “then feed my sheep”
- Found in John 10:17 – For this reason my Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I can take it again
1. A life lived
Do I obey God’s commands??? <insert obvious face> Of course I do! Let’s see:
I pray…okay not ceaselessly…that would be nuts. I mediate on the word day and night…okay only in the light, come on, who thinks about the word at night!!? Hmm…I know, I love my brother…so I qualify to say I love Him (its biblical!) EISH…then Corinth 13, the LOVE CHAPTER, rings in my ear and I remember the last time I wasn’t so patient/kind. Last attempt…I follow the great commission, I preach the word…ahhh…except for the laying of hands on the sick, nope that aint my calling…
Now before I spiral into a web of self condemnation and wonder how the hell I got here, a scripture rescues me. Acts 4:31 comes into play. I in my own right cannot obey God. His rules are too deep and plus I have a reputation to uphold that shouldn’t involve talking to strangers about God (God forbid)or laying hands on the sickly. Okay on a serious note; the issue here is that most of us feel unworthy. We cannot see ourselves doing the very thing that saved us as the guy that layed hands on us was a (HU)MAN of God.
Thank God for our interior designer, landscaper and house mate the holy spirit. I now get why we needed a helper! You see God kind of placed Himself in a funny position by giving us choice/will…it meant we could walk ourselves into heaven or hell. This God of ours loved us too much and knew that in our old sinful nature we would struggle to transition into Life. So He sent us a helper…which is still within His word as He said He will never leave us nor forsake us. Amongst the many responsibilities of our Helper, He is here to help us obey God’s commands, knowing very well that this is the key to everything…life and love. It’s important to God that we obey His commands as they ensure we live at full capacity. But then again, we are credited with Jesus obedience when we recieve Him into our lives. How else would a Holy God live in and even share an inheritance with a so called “sinner” that is you and I.
2. A life shared
What does God expect us normal average Joes (okay I’m using it to drive my point, not that I actually believe anyone is average) to feed the people!!?? Surely I must first have to then share. I aint anointed? I aint a “giant of the faith”…I’m not even sure I am a midget of the faith (no offense intended here). Ahh…God always has answere though…He says the FULLNESS OF GOD IS IN US. That kind of means I am filled with God…FILLED. How much of Him I see is up to me. Check this; we are 70% water right? Cool, is water gushing out of you? Nope. It is hidden in your blood, so infused with all your organs and inner workings that you can’t quite separate it out…except for when you sweat a bit of course ;). Another way is an unforgettable analogy made by my youth leader. He said that the spirit in us is like sugar in water. Simply poured in water it sinks to the bottom. It’s affect in the water is never felt really…not until one stirs the sugar into the water…then you get sugar water and you can’t really separate the sugar from the water, they are one. How do we stir God in us so that we become tasty fruit to everyone around us? Pray, Worship, the Word…I cannot over emphasize that the Holy Spirit can only operate within what we know or are open to know. So when people observe our lives (1 Thess 4: 11), they are consuming our essence/values/life which should be modelled after God. What are you feeding people??
3. A life surrendered
Something happens in between you giving up your life and you picking it up again. Its as if Jesus was saying To show I love God, I will lay down my way of doing things (John 5: 19), let my life touch His feet (His walkers, His territory takers, what connects Him and the earth, His salvation/good news) and then pick it up again…You can bet that once your life have touched God’s feet, it returns to you with a spirit of dominance/power and authority. God’s feet are rather fascinating but that is a story for another day. Love without surrender doesn’t exist. God Himself gave up His son…Often we glaze over that sacrifice in our rush to get to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. Imagine you as a parent leading your young son or daughter to the cliff and pushing them off, so that your neighbour can live another day. Graphic but you get my point. I would trust life with my designer and manufacturer than any promises this world makes as I am assured that no one knows my wiring and has my best interest at heart more than my maker.
Does this mean we earn God’s love? Hmm…let’s see; He has so much faith that we love Him already that He created the reward for a life lived, a life surrendered and a life shared. That is before we even started. To God, we love Him as He first loved us. He is not delusional. He put the ability to do what He asked in all of us. God never demands of what He never equipped us to do. In fact, I reckon He earns our Love. He is forever pursuing you relentlessly in order to give you Life (John 10:10-11)…who doesn’t love to be pursued and wooed.
If to love God means to live (in full), share and surrender my life, then perhaps I am not too far off not by my own strength or power…nope, by His very spirit. God so trusts that buried underneath our thick layer of self centeredness, self doubt and condemnation is still His nature which is our DNA…and at its very core is love. It takes a lot of effort for us not to love…its unnatural.