Serving The Lover

I've always been taught I am supposed to love God.

I've always been taught, that my motivation in life, is to please God.

I've always been taught, that I need to be a servant who is obedient, who makes the best moral decisions and watches out for the needs of others.

To this day, I still believe these things to be true.

However, I've also come to learn that truth is understood, practiced and displayed in a particular order.  For instance, it's good to help a person in need, but if I am just helping them so that I'll feel better about myself, then my secondary good deed is disqualified by what lacks in my primary heart attitude.  I don't help people to coddle my internal needs... I help people as an expression of God's love.

God the lover has to be first... yes, even before God the loved.

I have spent my ministry years (26 of them so far) serving God the loved.  In fact, I have thought very little about God the lover.  It's always been a matter of my attempts to please Him... my attempts to give to Him... my attempts to do the right things and be the right person.  I have beat myself up over my many failures.  I have laid heavy burdens of guilt upon myself.  I have acted out of compulsion and obligation.  I have done all of these things in my meager attempts to please God... to show God that He is loved by me.  All along, it's been about me, seeking His approval.  It's been about me, trying to feel, act upon and express my love for God.  Basically... it's been about me.

I'm pretty confident, that I'm missing something very important... more important than 'me loving God'.

What about, -GOD LOVING ME?-

When we quote John 3:16, we place all the emphasis on the details of salvation, but the first 6 letters just get lip service.

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD!

To a holy God, we are very difficult to love.  He does not embrace and fellowship with the unholy.  He is holy!  That's just the way it is.  He loves from arms reach, but He cannot embrace that which is in contradiction to His very nature.  So what does He do?

  • He teaches us that we can't love Him.
  • He teaches us that we can't please Him.
  • He teaches us that we are completely and totally unable to know His loving embrace.

Why this harsh lesson?  Because we are determined to love Him, please Him and know Him on our own terms.  We are stubborn.  But finally, after this lesson had spanned centuries and was made widely available in written form, He summed it all up in one great display of opulent prodigal love.  He gave His only begotten son.  He loved us first, so that we could love Him back.  He wrapped us up in Jesus, took us into His arms, and finally... embraced the ones whom He had loved from afar.

Ask yourself this one important question:  What does God want?

I believe the answer is simple.  God wants us to know, that He loves us.

Before I obey anything... before I learn the words of my Bible and try my best to carry them out... before I make every effort to do what is right... before I serve, submit, comply and pray... I must first know that I am loved by God.

I wonder what God's definition of a 'good Christian' is?

We define it in terms of what we do.

I believe God would define it differently.  A good Christian isn't one who does good things... but rather, first and foremost, the good Christian is the one who wakes up every day knowing that he/she is loved by God... no matter what.

I don't believe God is standing in heaven with His arms crossed asking, "What have you done for me lately?"  He is not the type to cross arms.  He is the type to spread His arms.  He spread them in death, and now He spreads them in the anticipation of our embrace.

When we serve the lover... everything changes.