Upon giving our lives to Christ, we struggle with lesser loves. We still find within ourselves a desire for worldly pleasures. A yearning for material possessions. A longing for satisfaction apart from Christ. There’s a battle for the affections of our hearts. And if we’re not careful, we might forget our love for God altogether.
The Bible says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV).
That’s why I’m here. Let me explain.
At the end of my life, I don’t care if anyone knows my name. I don’t care if anyone remembers my work. I just hope people know Jesus a little bit more because of me.
Love is a verb. When we love people, those people see God through our love.
“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us” (1 John 4:12 NLT).
She sat beside me on the airplane.
“Hi,” she said.
“How are you?” I asked.
The conversation quickly ended. It was a long flight from Dallas to Columbus. She fell asleep. I read my new book. But the silence didn’t last long.
The flight attendant eventually made it to our row. He asked if we wanted anything to eat or drink. She woke up. I requested some black coffee. And a conversation began brewing.
Last semester, I learned a Hebrew prayer known as the Shema.
Jews view the Shema in a similar way that Christians view the Lord’s Prayer. But there’s certainly a difference. Devout Jews actually recite the Shema twice a day. You may be wondering where this prayer comes from. It’s actually in your Bible!
Moses says, “‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might’” (Deut. 6:4-5 ESV).
I can actually recite those two verses in Hebrew. The Jews recite more than two verses, but those two verses are the essence of the Shema.
“Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called.
‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’
‘Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you’” (Gen. 22:1-2 NLT).
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? God is asking Abraham to kill his own son! But love is sacrifice, not control. Don’t be surprised when God asks you to sacrifice what you love. Because God can’t fully bless what you’re unwilling to let go of.