To whom do we love?
In the past few years I have talked to quite a few people who have expressed a concern they don’t feel a love for God or more specifically Jesus our Lord and Saviour. This has always been a bit surprising to me, based on the fact that Christianity is not a religion. It is an ever growing relationship between God and us individually.
I appreciated their honesty and assured them the relationship will grow. I also encouraged them to read the Bible more and some say they are very faithful to that end.
Years ago, after my group finished, I reflected on an interesting statement I heard. “I Don’t love Jesus but I need Him.” Each person probably thinks he or she are the only ones that say something like this. There are many sides to this but I will touch two of them; culture and existing relationships.
First off, one of God’s way of expressing His love for us is by providing for us; providing for our needs.
Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Ah! Where have I heard this before? In Asian cultures a parent’s love is expressed in providing food, clothing, shelter, and education for their children.
From a North American culture they may see this as being authoritative and seem too strict or righteous in an Asian Christian family.
Romans 8:32 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
From a Western culture, they also provide these needs for their own children but cling to giving affectionate love and encouragement as a high priority and secondly they plug their children into education. They feed them as they feed themselves with a gracious, well intended, but different heart. They provide from a different perspective.
From an Asian culture they may see this Western approach as not being responsible enough.
Of course these differences in provisions overlap each other in the various cultures; it’s not that contrasted. The priorities of how we all raise our children are different, hence the expression of love is different.
So here is my point. Now that we have cultures aside, let’s look at the relationship. For this exercise I want you the reader to put yourself in the story below. Even if you know you love Jesus, there are times the relationship may seem distant. I’ll refer to the reader as you to make it easier to experience this as experientially as possible.
Let’s say you are upset about something that happened. It’s pretty traumatic, a death in the family or a chronic illness. You express you don’t love Jesus or God, or both, but you know you need Him.
Now you head off to your small group and in that group you look up to the leader. He or she is a strong Christian with sound Biblical knowledge. You approach them and explain your crises privately before the group starts. The leader talks to you, prays on the spot POTS, and you are comforted; the pain subsides for a little while. It doesn’t seem hopeless now. Then when the group starts and it’s time to share, you tell of your crises. But you tell the group that you feel ok now thanks to the leader’s wisdom and prayer. Praise God!
You make public statements about how you love the leader and how it’s so nice to be in this group.
But wait a minute. Just who helped you? Was it the leader or God? You gave glory to God but what about the relationship?
You know the answer. It was God through the leader, through the leader.
You see, you love the one that helps you; the one that cares about you. You love the one that walks with you through life. Granted the leader is a willing instrument who does love and care for you. But it was God all along through the leader.
Now I ask you to reflect on the times others truly helped you; others that nurtured you in a time of need. This also applies to those who have not found Jesus yet.
You see, again it was God all along that was and is with you. You love the one that walks with you through life. You love God. You love Jesus. You just were looking at the wrong person, through the wrong eyes. Just take the leader, man, out of that role and put Jesus in that role of which He actually was and is in.
This will take a while to get your heart around. But it’s real.
From an Asian culture perspective, God met your needs in providing encouragement and Biblical education, through God’s instruments of the leader and group.
From a Western point of view, God supported you emotionally through the comfort of God’s instrument, the leader and group.
Evil forces want to convince you that the leader is great. He or she is an amazing comforter. But no, this is the deception.
A sponge is an amazing thing. A synthetic sponge can absorb over 8 times its weight. It can take away a lot of liquid.
Not seeing God or Jesus as the provider that we are talking about is like a sponge absorbing God’s flow of grace that was meant to flow to you in your relationship with God and His Son Jesus.
Every breath of prayer you prayed or thoughts you thought towards God, was interceded for you by Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour, before the formation of the world. In our lives He is waiting for us to acknowledge Him in prayer and through His word, even though He knew it before all creation was created.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Isaiah 45:22 (KJV)
22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and their is none else