We cannot strategize ourselves into spiritual revival. We cannot study ourselves into breakthroughs that seem to have evaded us for too long. We will not discipline ourselves into joy, peace and love. While I personally believe in and engage in strategic planning, studying of God’s word and practice personal spiritual disciplines… I find that the hungers of my own heart are only met when I am learning God and, consequently, loving Him. I learn Him by being with Him. It sounds somewhat super-spiritual but immediately we are challenged by this notion of being with Him because we cannot quite explain how to “be with” a God (or how we could NOT be with Him seeing He is omnipresent) who is invisible. Is regular, personal interaction with God part of our Christian experience? There was a time for me when that concept was little more than my studying His book and praying to the God who never spoke back to me. God calls us to Himself. God calls us into loving Him supremely. God calls us into loving others as the greatest part of our life’s mission.
He calls us to seek Him with all of our being (Jeremiah 29:13) and He promises that we will encounter Him when we do so. From God, this is a summons to personal encounter and intimacy with Him. He promises that, when this desire becomes our foremost desire, we will find Him. His greatest command is for us to love Him with all of our being (Matthew 22:36-40). Jesus is not talking about a sweet, sentimental fondness for God. Jesus is summarizing a love that predominates everything about us. In all the Christian experience, to seek and find and love God is the single highest pursuit. If we have this as our ongoing reality, we have our purpose; whatever else we might not have is no longer supremely important if we have found Him and are loving Him. If we have all other things – including our ism’s and ology’s and strategies and disciplines – but do not have love for Him then we are the poorest of people and have missed the entire point of why He chose us, sought us and saved us.
God calls us to seek Him, encounter Him and love Him. He knows that, when this is happening, the outflow will be our love for one another. The more I grow in my seeking, encountering and loving God…the more I love what God loves. And God loves you. I love you because I have been loved by God and have consequently fallen in love with Him. Because He loves me, I am freed up to love you, to be for you, to give to you. Jesus told us that our love for one another would be the preeminent characteristic that signaled to this world that we are forever attached to Him. It is not our creeds or statements of faith that authenticate the reality that we are Christ’s. It was never about our mode of worship or where we gather on Sundays. True discipleship is not uncovered in our strands of theology or our denominational priorities. Jesus, our King, Shepherd and Teacher, situated our love for each other as the apex of what it means to follow Him. Theology is important -do not get me wrong. But theology that does not result in loving God and loving others is worthless theology. Theology that suggests we have arrived at full understanding is theology that short-circuits God’s purpose for us to continually press into Him, seeking Him, encountering Him and plunging more deeply into love for Him. I love theology that reveals His true beauty and empowers me to love Him and to love others. This is the truth that God will lead us into.
LOVE: because it is of utmost importance to Him, it is my foremost pursuit. I have been loved and therefore I am going to love you. You will not stop me 🙂 .
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.” – – Psalm 25:5
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