1 John 4:16 (ESV)- So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
A year ago, I suffered one of the greatest disappointments that a sincere devotee and aspiring disciple of Lord Jesus could ever experience.
Regardless of the details- which include my own mistakes– the foundational reason for my disappointment was the realization that most of us “Christians” do not even try to love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind. (Luke 10:27)
For the most part, we Christians hardly understand what it means that God loves us.
God not only “serves” our every need on a daily basis (ie. your entire being is held together by the power of his Word), he selflessly loved us to the point of giving his one and only Son for the sake of our salvation.
One can love God out of devotional duty… in fact, it would be righteous to do so. But that is not the type of love that God desires most- since even nature’s elements do that as they obey God’s every mandate.
The form of love that God desires most is simply a reciprocation of his loving devotion towards us. In other words, God desires for us to qualitatively love him in the same manner that he continuously loves us.
Someone might say… “but I’m a mere human being…only God can love like God!”
This is true! A true Christian does not need to be instructed on the fact that God commanded to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and strength” (Dt. 6:5), since the Spirit of God’s Son is constantly crying out to God: “Abba-Father!” from the deepest crevices of our hearts. (Gal. 4:6)
The heart of every disciple of Christ is in fact, INUNDATED by the love of God which has been poured into the heart of every true believer. (Rom. 5:5)
The only true way to gauge one’s sincerity towards God is by measuring the degree of devotion with which one lives for Him, in comparison to God’s devotion towards us. God’s love towards us is THE standard, not our opinions or conveniences.–jcr
2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)- And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
The sincere devotee of God seeks to please God at every instance through everything that he or she does. In fact, the life of a true devotee of Christ is a constant (and explicitly conscious) sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving unto God through everything he says, thinks, does, breathes, eats, vests… even to the point of including sleep and sex life.
Colossians 3:17 (ESV)- And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Since our being exists due to God’s constant and unfailing love- then every manifestation of our being should be a constant expression of our devotion to the ONE who has continuously loved us from eternity. Absolutely nothing in this life should give us more joy and satisfaction than to constantly seek to reciprocate the devotional love of God towards us.
Absolutely nothing should be more important to every Christian than to please God at every moment, at every instance, with every word and with every deed. (2 Cor. 11:1-3)
Oh dear “Christian!” If you find yourself annoyed that your Pastor continues to prompt you to participate more fully in devotional love for God through acts of worship, service and Bible study…then perhaps it is because Christ is not in your heart, and you love the world (and your ego) more than you love God!
Do not be deceived! If one cannot consciously engage God in effortless devotional service that naturally springs from the heart… then one should at least try to be devoted to God in fulfillment of the command, since his commands are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
But if one cannot be at least, constantly devoted to God as a fulfillment of the command, then that person most certainly is not a Christian. The one who truly seeks to love God with all his heart, truly BELIEVES Him. Nothing in life is sweeter than to love God through devotional service… Nothing.
God lacks and desires only one thing: our loving devotion–jcr