This morning I planned on writing about an inspiring adventure I just had. However, I’m a bit guilt-ridden to splash words on this page regarding said adventures. These moments of deep introspection come frequently, but finding the opportunities to articulate them do not.
Do I really love God?
Some of you may know I’ve been digesting a very popular book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. At present, I’m midway through the work and the concept of true love slapped me right in the face. Up until this point, I’ve pondered a lot about my past and how I look at God as Father. I’ve questioned my motives for faith, but for the first time, probably ever, I have to take an ugly, in-your-face, up close, personal look at L-O-V-E. It’s not what I thought it was.
Now hear me out: I’m not trying to get down on myself. I know that perfection is unattainable, but understanding the realities of my conviction help me to grow…and so I’m sharing them with you.
If I understood love, I mean really understood it, I would be a better friend. Selfishness wouldn’t be an issue, nor fear of man. Instead, my individualistic, do-it-myself frame of reference shoves true love out the window. And let’s make sure we’re on the same page: I’m not talking about romantic love, although that is definitely included in the umbrella category. I’m addressing the love we don’t have an English word for. Selfless love.
Francis Chan challenged the reader to take a new look at 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter, right?) and substitute our own name for the word “love”. Go ahead and try it. Chan says, “By the end, don’t you feel like a liar? If I am meant to represent what love is, then I often fail to love people well.”
This hit me hard. If the essence, the embodiment, the reality of true love dwells within me, why don’t I access it daily? Because I’m not patient, I’m not kind…I struggle with envy, I get irritated. Again, I know I’m not ever going to attain perfection. I’m reminded of Paul’s letter to the Philippians as he wrote about understanding what it is to truly know the Lord. Even Paul never got there, but one thing he knew to do was press on; to try.
We are part of a generation diagnosed with a major case of relational ADD. I understand I’m making hasty generalizations, but tell me if you don’t believe it as truth. We think we’re really involved but yet it’s so easy to back away and find the next best thing.
Francis Chan related a story about the spiritual reality of his wife’s grandmother to how a man loves a woman. This lady couldn’t wait to meet with the Lord. Daily she knelt by her bed talking to God. Even the sight of that place would bring her joy to know she could go back at any moment and be with her Savior. When a person is in a relationship with another person, they want to do anything to be with them. Anything. There is this man who died for me, who loves me more than I understand, and yet I’m more concerned about networking with musicians or finding out if Verizon will finally get the iPhone.
It brought me to tears.
We break His heart daily and yet He still stands there, with fullness of joy, yet I’m sure an indescribable longing for me to just look at Him. I slam the door in His face. I ignore His phone calls. But when I want something I remember good ‘ol God. It blows my mind that He still listens…because He is patient, He is kind. He doesn’t take into account the wrong suffered to Him.
Because He is Love.
What am I going to do about this? When will my desire for knowing God outweigh my desire for the things of the world? Even now I wrestle between a spirit that knows and desperately wants God and only God, and my soul that wants to make my life happen. One day all that “life” will mean nothing. The truth about love is I have no idea what it is. I don’t seek to know what it is. I think I’ve made love (whatever incorrect meaning I’ve given the word) an obligation…and that won’t fly for the rest of my life. If I feel obligated to love God (meaning, to spend time getting to know His heart), then I will feel obligated to love my friends, my husband, my children by consequence.
I think we’ve confused this “high calling in Christ Jesus” with work, rather than seeing it as an intimate relationship.
I once thought all these things were so important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Jesus. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as filthy rags, so that I my have Christ and become one with Him…
No, I’m still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energy on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
(excerpts from Paul’s letter to the Philippians – ESV)
Without love (I will insert God here), without God, I am nothing…nothing but this mass of skin and bones that likes to run her mouth and get ahead. But with Him, with truly knowing Him, I am so much more. I can be hope, I can be joy, I can be light.
This is the truth about Love.