Thursday, May 21, 2015

INFATUATED WITH GOD - CONCLUSION

(This post is a continuation of the two below. Before reading this post, please scroll down to read parts 1 and 2)
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Loving God

The same is true in our love for God. Just as many people enter into a marriage with unrealistic expectations, many people come to God with unrealistic expectations. They expect God to fulfill their every whim.

Like the man who says he best worships God while out in nature, as long as his emotional needs are met, he sees himself as worshiping God. Every day is a clear blue day on the lake and every time I cast out my line I catch a fish. But this is not loving God. This is not worship. We are focused not on God but we are rather focused on the feeling within ourselves. It is what we are getting out of the relationship that is important to us.

Just as our relationship with our own spouses, if our relationship with God only succeeds or fails on the basis of whether or not we receive our own emotional rewards, then that relationship has not yet become a true love. It is only an infatuation. It is infatuation with God.

If our purpose for serving God is only for whatever benefit that we might receive from the relationship, then I am afraid that this is not love of God. It is more like love of self.

True love of God, true worship, means that we are focused on God. This is despite our own feelings and despite whether or not we think that we are receiving anything out of the relationship. 

Demonstrating Our Love for God

This might all seem clear, but how then are we to put this into practice? It is easier to see this when we are talking about demonstrating our love to our wife or to our husband. We can do things to please them, to make them happy. But how does one make God happy? How do we serve God in such a way that demonstrates that we are doing it only for him and expecting nothing for ourselves?

God has demonstrated his love to us. We have that familiar verse in Romans that says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV). In fact, John also mentions this in this same passage when he says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9 ESV).

But how are we to show our love for God? How is our love for God made manifest? Christ showed his love for us by dying for us. Does that mean that the way to show our love for God is best shown by dying for him? As strange as it may seem to us, that is what many people involved with what they call “holy wars” believe.

But what about on the practical level? We know how we can demonstrate love to our spouses and even to other people. We see a need and we meet it. But with God, it is different. We cannot see God or approach him to do anything for him. Besides that, he has no needs.

John makes this very point. “No one has ever seen God;” he says. But then he adds this point – “If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12 ESV)

This is the way! It is in the way that we treat each other that demonstrates our love for God. “Beloved,” John says, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11 ESV).

We love God by loving one another. We serve God by serving each other. This is the way of the Christian.

If I asked you if you love God, probably you would say that you do, and I have no reason to doubt that you do love God. I say that I love God. But how are we doing in our demonstration of our love? Are we loving God just by what we hope to receive from the relationship, or does our love for God motivate us to do something for only for him?

“Beloved,” John says, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

We love God by loving one another. We serve God by serving each other. This is the way of the Christian.

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