I have been a bit puzzled lately by the idea of Christians struggling to love others. Loving, showing love and being a loving person is a major attribute to anything connected to God. If we don’t love, we won’t share God’s salvation plan with those who are destitute and without hope. If we don’t have love for God we won’t follow His plan for our lives. The word tells us if we really love Him we’ll keep His statues (John 14:15). With these things in mind, why is it so difficult for believers to love God?
I believe it’s connected to several factors. The body of Christ today seems more concerned with material things than they are with the idea of being in love with Jesus. We have connected having more possessions to being blessed which couldn’t be more of a fallacy. A massive amount of material possessions or an abundance of finances doesn’t necessarily mean a person is blessed. Why? Because there are many unchurched individuals who have wealth. Being blessed is having a successful relationship with God. In addition, having a successful walk with the Lord doesn’t mean having an overflow of monetary means. Many Christian leaders have misled followers with the notion that more stuff means more faith. If we gain the world and miss heaven what good will possessions be (Luke 9:25)? For a believer that is truly in love with God, wealth merely means honor. It means they are in a financial position to bless the kingdom of God. It means God trusts them enough to allow them to have more than enough. It means they are accountable to God on where they sow in the kingdom. It’s not a means to engage in gluttonous behavior or a tool to manipulate church leaders with large offerings. God looks on the heart expecting those with an overflow to have a heart of love. If we keep Christ as our focus, we will not have challenges in the area of giving. Loving God will remind us that as quickly as our abundance came into our lives it can diminish just as easily. God wants our heart to rejoice in Him no matter what our position is financially but in order to have this mindset we must choose love.
Loving God means we live to perfect our worship. Many people say they love God but in reality they are trying to pimp Him. They keep track of how many times they’ve attended church or how much money they’ve given to the ministry. If they don’t see results in the time frame they’ve determined is reasonable, giving up on God is entertained in their minds. They expect quick answers when they pray and if God is taking too long they’ll cite that living for Him is useless or empty. When we entertain these warped ideas openly, it is an indicator that we truly haven’t fallen in love with God. Loving God with our whole being teaches us that we can’t manipulate Him nor would we want to. We must take on an attitude of servitude no matter the outcome in our individual lives. God is still working miracles around us everyday and our failure to acknowledge this illustrates a lack of belief. Believers need to be taught that trusting God will breed an atmosphere of love which is the catalyst for worship. When we worship, we are sending a message to the Lord that we are not selfish, but willing to give up our time so that we can talk to Him. We then learn real love doesn’t come with strings attached or has a time limit on it. When we worship, God not only exposes our manipulative goals but teaches us a valuable lesson each time a situation is presented in our lives that is beyond our control. Jesus says if we love Him, we’ll keep His words. He also stated He and the Father will commune with us when our love is embedded in genuine pure worship (John 14:23).
Real love born out of a committed relationship with Christ will birth a burden within each of us to see souls saved. This is our primary call after salvation and everything else secondary. Love will infuse us with the desire to share the gospel. Once we’ve fall in love with the Father, we’ll look for lasting, creative and real ways to offer Jesus to the masses. Whether we give out tracks, buy groceries for an elderly neighbor or give someone a ride to a medical appointment God can move on their heart so that they can see Him in us. We need to come back to this foundational truth in the body of Christ and ministry leaders should feel obligated to preach it more often.
The goal of ministry isn’t more tithes and offerings as many have assumed. The goal should be helping people understand they need a relationship with God. No monetary offering can be a worthy substitute for that. This will open the door to cultivate more disciples of Christ. Once they know God, the finances will come, the church will grow and all will be blessed.
We need to remind ourselves the greatest act of love was Jesus death on the cross. He didn’t die for a Lexus, a coach bag, Wii gaming systems or LCD televisions.
He died to save us from a burning hell. He died because He loved us who were spiritually poor and relationship needy. Only the love of God can bring hope, peace, victory and stability in our lives. We don’t have to be insecure castaways angling to manipulate others. Our love relationship with God teaches us to put everything in our lives in proper perspective. This includes our finances, our worship and our relationships with our fellowman. The love of God refines us in every area where are weak and stumbling in the faith. God’s love eradicates fear because fear hinders us from loving without restraint (I John 4:18) and His desire is to set us free.
Jesus’ death gave us a choice. We can serve Him or spend an eternity separated from Him. If we want to see real fruit in our lives, the choice should be clear. If we want to see our lives filled with blessings, we must commit to an honest relationship with God. Our first step in knowing God in fullness is realizing we need to love Him with our whole being. Loving God should be easier than breathing and if this is a difficult task, an examination of our motives is in order to see if walking with Christ is truly our desire.
In closing, let’s endeavor to fall so hopelessly in love with Jesus that loving Him will be our life’s desire that inspires a generation of new believers.
Dr. Denise J. Williams was born & raised in Brooklyn, NY. Her book “The Healing Of A Broken Vessel” can be found on amazon.com. Her next effort, “The Chambers Of The Heart” is in production and slated to be released in 2012.