Remember the time you were in love – especially at the onset of a relationship?
(I may have written a blog post along these lines before, but I feel burdened to write this now! So I’m doing it anyway.)
You would do things to please him and most likely wear clothes that he likes to see you with, make sure your nails are well maintained, cook what he likes… it becomes all about him. You can’t wait to hear his voice – in fact not hearing his voice or even not receiving his SMS first thing in the morning spoils your mood. The day seems to be ruined! We long for every moment to get to know him, to know all about his likes and dislikes, to know how his day went, to know what he enjoys doing for re-creation, the list goes on and on and ummm must I add and on? And then again, when we love someone, we simply can’t contain it. Our face glows and we keep talking about this love of our life – even if it’s a one sided love! You just can’t hide it, you want the whole world to know how wonderful this man is! When you love someone, the relationship is treasured so much that you claim it! If he’s yours, then you want to shout it out from the roof top and let everyone know that you are taken and also that he is taken too! Naturally a big chunk of your time which you would usually spend with your buddies gets absorbed as your priority is now your man.
Well, I’m not sure how healthy all this is when it comes to human relationships. Yet this is how we usually are also it comes to our first love for God as well. We look forward to hearing His voice – we spend time chatting with Him. Given that the central foundational theme of the Bible is about God – it is His Word after all, we spend much with God by studying and meditating on God’s Word. Through this, we get to know Him – we begin to comprehend His character, His ways, His likes, His dislikes etc. We are so consumed by His love that we love Him with ALL our heart, with ALL our mind, with ALL our soul and with ALL our strength. Family, studies, career, social lives, recreation – priorities are shuffled around and pushed down the list as God takes priority.
We do things to please Him and our relationship with God becomes the foundation of our lives. Everything gets built on this. We start our day by chatting with Him, and we keep sending not emails or snail mails but heart felt expressive prayers throughout the day, totally eager to hear what He has to say too. Enveloped in His love, we reach out to one another in love… By our love for one another (not put on and insincere love but rather genuine love that suffers or rejoices with each other), we become known to be His disciples. Our purpose on earth becomes the purpose for what God has placed us here as opposed to seeking treasures on earth. It is not about programs or activities or productivity or numbers or rules and regulations – life is all about two fold relationship. First with God and through that with each other.
The more we get to know Him, the more intimate we become with Him, the more we are able to DISCERN His voice… We then know what is of God and what is of the world or of the enemy or of the flesh – even if the voice comes through a loved one here on earth.
However as time goes on, we tend to loose that love we once had. Little by little we give God leftovers – our priorities shift back to family, studies, career, social lives, recreation… and if we have some time then we think about God and seek Him. The Family of God is neglected. Then again, if we hear His voice and put it into practice that is when we are His Family – well, that’s what Jesus says. Obviously when we loose our first love for Him, our priorities take over and don’t give us room to put His Word into practice. Can we then expect to be a part of the Family of God?
Often we do that. We want to lead our lives in our ways and then we expect God to intervene in our situations. We expect Him to answer our prayers the way WE want, in OUR timing and in accordance to the results WE want. It’s all about me, me, me… We claim “good” from Him.. but yet do we sincerely- in spirit AND in truth – love Him? Do we love Him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength? And if so, we will begin to love our neighbour as ourselves. (Yes, there is an other side to it – Jesus does tell us to be as harmless as doves and wise as serpents..). If we are in love with God, our love for one another especially those in the family of believers becomes automatic. We forgive one another and in return God forgives us. We don’t hold grudges or hold unforgiveness but we extend grace instead… by the grace that God has extended to us, the grace that you and I do not deserve… And it is not about what we do right or what we do wrong.. it is nothing but the gift of grace. And for that we are grateful.
Do a check on yourself – it is not your outward service for God that saves you… It is your relationship with Him. God condemned one of the seven churches in Revelation for losing their first love for Him. Where do you stand today? It is only by our love for one another that we can be known to be His disciples. Are we pushing another believer aside because they don’t agree with what you say or because they have fallen? Well, something is wrong – obviously you don’t understand the grace of God that embraced you in the first place! The Good shepherd demonstrated love – He went looking for the ONE sheep that went astray. He did not condemn it when He found it but rather joyfully placed it on His shoulders and brought it home. Out of sheer joy He invited His neighbours and threw a party to celebrate. Are you condemning the sheep that has gone astray or are you going searching for it and bringing it home? Jesus reminds us, that all His sheep are HIS…. The sheep don’t belong to a human pastor – they belong to Jesus… You and I who believe belong to Jesus and we are special.
Do you love God and love your neighbour? What is the fruit you bear? Does it increasingly resemble the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) or is it still more or less the acts of the fleshly nature (Galatians 5:19-21)?