Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Love = Action

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 14:21

“but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

John 14:31

In the book of James we see that faith necessarily manifests itself through good works. This saving faith imparts the Holy Spirit in us and that indwelling relationship MUST change us. If we say that we are saved and that the Holy Spirit is in us yet we see no change, no progression then we are revealed as liars. It would be like if I came to work and told every one that I had been hit by a bus while walking across the street but I had no physical markers of that encounter. An encounter with a bus would have to produce some sort of mark. Likewise, an encounter with the all powerful creator of the universe would have to leave its mark.

But here Christ is talking about more than simple faith. He is talking about love. An affection for God that provokes us to action. He even likens our obedience to Him with His obedience to the father.

When a person is in love with someone they will go to great lengths to please that other person. When I first started dating my wife I didn’t mind staying up late and talking on the phone, driving far distances just to see her for a few minutes, spending ridiculous amounts of money to get her things that she probably didn’t even want but that I thought would be cool for her to have. I would do whatever it took to please her. It was easy. I didn’t think twice about it.

That is what Christ is talking about. A people so in love with God that pleasing Him becomes our number one goal. It becomes second nature. It is what drives our obedience. Not just faith but a deep love relationship. So deep that when we stray far from Him our hearts ache. And when we spend time with Him and enjoy His presence our hearts beat fast.

The sad truth is that the initial passion wanes. Much like marriage, there is the honey moon phase, and then there is a time when we have to fight for that passion; to be deliberate about keeping it alive. We have date nights, we cook for each other, we surprise each other romantic gestures etc. Not to say that the love is not there. But it is inevitable that passion will wane and it is out Job to fight to bring it back.

It is the same with our relationship with God. Our flesh loves to make war with our spirit. It loves to make much of the temporary and little of the eternal. We get caught up in life and that passion wanes. It is our jobs to fight to bring that passion back.

What are some ways that I can get that passion back and sustain it?

How can I change my devotional time so that I am meeting with Jesus rather than simply checking off that part of my schedule.?

One of the ways that I get filled is theology. Some people hate theology. They would leave it up to pastors and teachers to know that “stuff”. But I think that the more we get to know God. The more we learn to love the doctrines that help inform our view of Him than the deeper our worship becomes.

Another way that I try to sustain it is by reading about His work through the lives of others like Spurgeon, Edwards or missionaries like Titus Coan.

I also like to get away form the hustle and bustle of life and just spend time with Him. Not simply time alone surfing or hiking but making the most of that time by praying or simply pondering Him.

Each person’s strategies will be different. But the goal is the same. To kindle a passionate love for our God that produces obedience so that the world will know that we love God.