Shortly after, Selah Radio played on Pandora while I got ready for church. A song came on, I don't remember which one, but I remember it being something about asking for more of God's love. It hit me like a bouquet of thorny roses--I have been selfish with God's love. Always reading more and more books about it, attending church to cultivate it, striving for more devotional time to seek it--all for my own spiritual well-being.
All for my sense of worth and pride in being a Christian. And, when I'm honest with myself, I realize even my passion for mission work has often been about my sense of adventure and deepening my faith walk (because going into the unknown demands faith), and little about spreading God's love to others.
The Spirit is working in me to change. As I thought about all of this renewed and even newly discovered passion for Christ and for others (our 2 great commands, afterall), I then thought about going to church. Sitting in a sanctuary full of other people, "Christians" like myself, also hoarding God's love. And I cried.
I cried for fear of losing the moment. For sadness of not knowing when it will all become reality for me and others of His followers. Sorrow for my own complacency and wasted time in not understanding what it means--what is calls for--to be Christ's follower.
Thankfully, as always, He didn't leave me hanging. He brought that experience in His presence around full circle when I went to church that morning (er, afternoon, considering it starts at noon). We sang a song that made me think more about the involvement of God's love in this whole thing: The Power of Your Love written by Geoff Bullock.
How powerful God's love is! That even the weakness (the complacency) I see in myself is stripped away, leaving only the knowledge of His love as He lives in me. He renews my mind (so I won't forget) as His will unfolds in my life--His will of living every day by the power of His love.
One of the main texts for that day's sermon was John 15. Several verses talk about His love for us and our love for each other. Verses 9, 10, and 12 are three I specifically highlighted:
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.If we are known by our fruit and love is what keeps us bound to Christ and each other--it seems we must do more than feel love or force loving feelings for its own sake. Rather we should love as Christ loved--helping others, even those we don't know or don't naturally care to know. Encouraging one another. Meeting people's physical needs or their need for friendship and connection.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Loving as Christ loved.
And how did He love?
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
if you feel like quitting church
if you've quit church
undressing our motives