Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, October 10, 2015

If you love me

  For most of my life, I struggled to believe God loves me. I'd have times when I thought I believed it, only to doubt it the minute He didn't answer a prayer the way I wanted, or didn't act in ways I expected Him to act. I finally got a point just 2 years ago this December that I came to a point that I have a firm belief that He loves me. It took a lot of prayer, reading books about God's love, listening to songs about God's love, and really working at it, but I finally got there. I still have slight doubts once in a while, which is human, but I have managed to keep the belief that God loves me since December of 2013.

  So I got that question of God's love for me resolved, but the reverse has been bothering me: Do I love God, and how does one love God? I have heard people tell of loving God, but I am not sure I am there yet. I am thankful for what He has done for me and in my life, but does that equal loving Him?

  I read a verse a while back that partially answers the question. John 14:15 and a couple of other verses in the Bible says that if we love God, we will keep His commandments. But I thought we were under law and didn't have to keep His commandments.....or so some Christians say.

  But is that all there is to it? If I love God, I'll keep His commandments? I keep rules and laws of the state and government, and where I work, but I don't love those people.

  Maybe it is how or why we keep His commandments that is the gauge of our love for Him.

  After they were married, a man handed his new wife a list of what he expected of her. They had an extremely unhappy marriage, and his list of demands were a sore spot and a dread for her their whole married life. He eventually died and she remarried. Several years later, she ran across the list her first husband had made, and realized with surprise that she was doing everything on the list with her second husband. Since she loved this husband and he loved her, she did them out of love and didn't find them a dread.

  We live in times where Christians don't want to follow God's commands unless it is convenient. Everyone wants a chapter and verse, and even when they have one, they interpret it so they can do what they want.

 We dress how we want, show as much skin as we want, do whatever we want to our bodies, listen to the music we want, indulge in whatever entertainment we want..... and never try to live our lives around God and His Word.  Instead, we try to make the Bible fit into our lives and our desires. If you dare suggest something might not be good for a Christian to do, you're called judgmental, weird, or worse....... and that is by other Christians. There are enough verses in the Bible too many of us ignore, twist, or re-interpret to fit how we want to live......we aren't interested in what God wants if it might cramp our lifestyle or inconvenience us in some way.

  I am speaking to myself also, but if we love God, His commands should not be a bother to us. We shouldn't be looking for loopholes or trying to get by with as little as we can, or seeing how close we can get to the edge without falling over. Can we really love God if we are continually trying to get around what the Bible says, trying to excuse why we aren't doing what the Bible says, or going by what man says instead of the what the Bible says? Is it possible we love ourselves more than God if we are more concerned with how much we can get away with and still be a Christian than with trying to live as close to God's Word as we can?

I'm not married, but I know enough about love and marriage to know this: If a couple is truly in love, they will for the most part try to do things that pleases their spouse and try not to do things their spouse does not like. And we do it for others in our lives. We don't have to have a written command from a spouse, other relative, or friend for us to do things that they like. But when it comes to God, the one who sent His Son to die for us....... we have to have it in black and white for us to do or not do...... and even then, that isn't enough for some people.

  The guy struggling with same-sex attractions wearies of the battle, and decides God must be OK with it, and lives a sinful lifestyle while ignoring God's commands.....because it is too inconvenient to obey God in that area.

  Many guys serving God want long hair, but there is that pesky verse in 1 Corinthians that says "does not nature itself teach you that it is a shame for a man to have long hair...... so they decide that verse was just intended for that day, or it was Paul's idea, or that Jesus had long hair so it is OK - after all, He has long hair in the pictures.... so they ignore or explain away that verse (Ironically, the same arguments for men to have long hair are some of the same ones the pro-gay crowd uses to make homosexuality OK with God).

  We all do it. There are a multitude of verses that we could use to find how God wants us to live, but we want what we want.

  I'm guilty of it, and I am not alone.

  So maybe this loving God and keeping His commandments is truly a gauge of our love, and not proof of our love. If we truly love God, we are going to delight in His commandments. If we truly love Him, we will read a verse like the one above, and it will influence our entire life. We will go to watch a movie, and think "God may be displeased by my watching that", and we will not watch it. We will read verses in the Bible and instead of trying to excuse it away, take it to heart so we can please God. We will read something in the Bible and not find it grievous or a burden.

  To love God, I need to find out what pleases Him, and do it..... but not out of duty or dread, but with an intense desire to live up to what He wants for me, and make my life more pleasing to Him.

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