I asked the Lord what He’d have me write about today and two words came to mind: “Love me”. Prior to asking Him that, my plan was to write about the importance of loving and serving our community, while at the same time, holding fast to our commitment to declare Christ crucified, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles”. Why write about this? Because sadly, too many churches focus their efforts on one of these two major responsibilities while neglecting the other.
But instead of writing to convince of the importance of both, I get the sense that I’m supposed to take for granted (at least for now) that you understand the call to serve others AND to proclaim to them and ourselves the full gospel, not shying away from the difficult/unpopular parts. What I’m not supposed to take for granted, is that we remember why we do these two things. There are so many wrong reasons to do these right things but there is only one right reason to do these right things, and here it is: we love our God and desire to express this love. If love of God is not our chief motivator, then it’s possible we love something else more than we love God. In other words, why we do things reveals what or who we love. For instance, if we serve the Lord and are primarily motivated by guilt, we are serving the Lord to primarily feel good about ourselves. This likely means we love ourselves more than God. Sobering thought isn’t it?
The first and greatest commandment hasn’t changed: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” “Love me”, God says. I could rattle off myriad reasons why God is so lovable, but if we understand and believe Romans 5:8, what more do we need? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loved us first. He loved us while we were still covered from head to toe in sin. He loved us so much that He covered us from head to toe with his cleansing blood. His love drove Him to the cross that in his death, we might have life. That’s love and it’s so incredibly love-worthy. We love many things because of what we get from them. But what thing or person has ever given us anything that can even be compared to what we’ve gotten from God? Nothing. Not parent, spouse, child, friend, job, title, house, money, food, drink, etc.
So we must ask ourselves: What is my chief motivation in life? If love of God is not your answer, do something about it right away and start by asking Him to forgive you. Spend much time dwelling on and savoring the gospel truths above. Write down some of your thoughts about God in light of His love. Take to your knees in prayer that God would grow your love for Him. And then, may we serve the Lord together from hearts that are overflowing with love for Jesus.