Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's All About Love (2)

If you haven't read my first post, read it now (here).

I want to talk about a trap that we all fall into in our pursuit of God.

The first trap is "works-based Christianity." We read our Bible and pray, and that makes us feel good about ourselves. When we don't, we feel bad. We tithe our %10, give a little extra, and that makes us feel good. We go on a missions trip or two, and that makes us feel good. We go to church, possibly even get involved in a ministry...more pats on the back. Certainly, because we're "doing" all these things, we must be a good Christian and God must be pleased with us. The problem? Often all these "works" mask the fact that our heart is far from God. The works in themselves are not the problem; it's the heart that is often lacking.

“The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.' " (Isaiah 29:13)

Remember when you were young and you did something bad and your parents told you to say you were sorry? But deep down, you weren't? So with that snide look you said "soooooory." And then your parents said "say it like you mean it." That's kind of the difference between doing something with the right heart.

Actually, the real problem with living "works-based" is that it puts all the focus on US. It becomes self-justification. There's a group in the Bible that were masters at this; the Pharisees. I am always so quick to judge them for their legalism, their religiosity, and yet deep down I wonder if I have more in common with them than with Jesus' disciples.

My point is not to depress you (or myself). My point is, however to hopefully motivate you and I to consider our relationship with God. Is it based on our works, our actions, our pursuits? Is it based on us? Or are we truly motivated by the amazing love that God has shown us?

Truth: For GOD so loved the world...no amount of good works you ever do will ever earn a single ounce of love from God. He already loves you with everything He can. He cannot possibly love you any more. No matter what you do. If you sold all you had and gave it all away and moved to Africa to serve God the rest of your life, He would NOT love you any more than He does right now, today.

Truth: God is after your HEART and your hands. Giving Him our hands is often easier; we can measure that. How many minutes did I read my Bible, how much money did I give, how many good things did I do in His name. However, giving God your hands without giving Him your heart is self-justification. It's worthless.

Truth: God is after an intimate relationship with you; one of reckless, risk-taking love. He wants it all!

Unfortunately, if you're reading this looking to me for the 3-step process to turn your relationship with Christ into a risk-taking, passionate one, you're in the wrong spot. However, I can encourage you to take time...TIME...lots of it...as much as you can spare...to pursue Him. How?

When you've fallen in love with someone, how do you pursue them? It's the same...

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

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