I Love God….. I think
Worship is primarily an intimate love relationship between God, the Creator, and us, His creation. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). In other words, we simply respond to the revelation of the amazing love He has for us which He manifested when He sent His Son to die on the cross for our own sins.
Love and obedience are intertwined in our relationship with God. If we just obey without love, that is not worship that’s acceptable to God. Our obedience should be a natural overflow or outcome of our love for God. Little wonder when He was asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).” (Matthew 22:37, Amp). Something else He said was, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.” (John 14:15, Amp)…
When our relationship with God is based on the law, on obeying rules and regulations – “touch not, taste not” – and not based on love – His (initiating) love for us and our (responsive) love for Him, it is at best a legalistic relationship. That is not what God desires and is certainly not what our spirits crave.
Some men would relate to this scenario: you fall deeply in love with a woman and you offer her yourself and your worldly possessions; she marries you but it becomes so obvious she is only interested in your ‘goods’ but not in your person; she is dutiful and obedient as is expected in by society of a wife, but she does not love you or is not in love with you so there is no emotional connection, talk less of intimacy. The reverse is also happening to some ladies: you are married to a man you love to pieces but he treats you like a possession or a trophy; he provides all you need materially and even has sex with you, but he is emotionally distant and nothing in his words or behaviour shows that he loves you or he’s in love with you. It is a very painful experience.
I think that there are some folks who really desire to have an intimate relationship with God and know all the theory but somehow, they can’t seem to connect with their Father at a deeper level than the crowd does; they can’t seem to get into and dwell in the Holy of Holies…..to sit on their Father’s knees or at His feet, touching and being touched by Him. Why is this? I stumbled on one answer today in the following verses of scripture (note the phrases which I emboldened):
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.”
(1 John 2:15-16, MSG)
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. (Matthew 6:24, MSG)
This means that the ‘world’ and God are in two opposite directions, so we cannot face both simultaneously. If we’re facing one, our backs are automatically turned on the other. ‘Facing’ one involves investing devotion and resources – time, energy and money. Every deep relationship of value requires serious investment of time and some degree of devotion. A person who begins to invest in someone other than their spouse will discover over time that they lose interest in their spouse and could eventually grow to despise him/her. Why do we think it’s different with us and God? We might never say we despise God and His ways, but our everyday life choices shout it out loud to everyone we come in contact with and definitely to God Himself, who looks not on the outward appearance but weighs the motives of the heart.
So what is ‘the world’ that is turning Christians away from their life Source?
1 John 2:16 summarizes all ‘the world’ stands for or has to offer. Let’s look at a couple of other translations to understand it better:
“…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (NIV)
“…a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions”(NLT)
Could we please be single-eyed and make Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our focus? Like He said to the early disciples:
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.” (Matthew 6: 25, MSG)
Trust God’s love for you and just love Him unreservedly……unashamedly…..with all of you.