We often hear how the greatest virtue is love. Love our God above everything else, love your neighbor as yourself, love your wife as Christ loves the church, wives honor and respect your husband, love and nurture your children- love, love, just love.
We are told we show God love by our obedience to Him. We attend church. We tithe. We read our Bibles. We follow protocol and obey but why do we feel so empty inside? If obedience is the sole factor, shouldn’t we be the happiest of people? However, there are many in this life filled with gaping holes caused by loneliness.
But we are obedient.
How in the world do we still not feel loved? We are constantly seeking validation. We search for a glimmer of hope that our existence matters. How can this be if we are being obedient? I mean we tithe, attend church services regularly, apply ourselves to serving, fulfill positions, read God’s Word and even pray. Our existence matters. But why are so many still seeking to be loved?
While obedience is the vessel through which love flows, the heart has to pump it through. They go side by side, one cannot function wholly without the company of the other helping it along. If all we do in our families and churches is simply following protocol- we are not really serving or acting in love but out of obligation. I believe one can be obedient but not have his heart in it. What I am talking of is when as parents we have to ask our child to do something and they grumble or complain, but do it anyway. They obeyed but their heart wasn’t there.
“Hear the word of the Lord , you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord . “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.”
Isaiah 1:10-13 NIV
Why would one just be obedient and not involve love, you might ask?
Our culture has become calloused. We have bullied each other with our careless comments and smart aleck remarks we’ve caused the sensitivity we all have in us to go into hiding. We have erected these walls that come across impenetrable because we feel we have to hide and protect what we hold in. We are so consumed with protecting said walls, that we fail to notice the walls of those around us who may be crumbling or have completely fallen. We don’t care. I mean we do, but we don’t want the vulnerability to hit us so we focus on our own walls. It’s safe behind them we feel.
These scenarios I am seeing everywhere. God and I have had some serious talks. Actually He shows me a person, He asks me to observe, then things start coming to my mind scriptural and secular further deepening what He wants me to take note of.
I am seeing brokenness and the crazy thing is, I see it in a lot of Christian people whom I love.
All I can ask God is why.
Love is painful. It constantly wants to manifest itself in us but demands change in order to have room. Love demands change. Change of schedules, plans, dreams, goals, priorities, objectives, and our focus. You never can have too much love. God is love and He never gives more than you can carry. But love is tough. The renewing of our minds in constant communication renders the tender love we all crave and are seeking. We want to be loved but we don’t want to hurt. We don’t want it to cost us and because we are so afraid to lay aside our egos and expose our inner beings. The walls we’ve built feel safe. They are what we know and to tear them down scares us to death.
We don’t give deep, genuine love and therefore do not receive it in return.
NF has a song God brought to my mind when thinking on this issue, this chorus has revived itself over and over in my mind lately.
“If you want love, you gon’ have to go through the pain
If you want love, you gon’ have to learn how to change
If you want trust, you gon’ have to give some away
If you want love, if you want love”
A long time ago you would hear of testimonies in church on a regular basis. People would share their tragic stories and how God had brought them healing, they would also often share how God answered their prayer. It was common. You looked forward to it in service, well, I suppose I should speak for myself. Honestly, aside from the Bible being read, the testimonies were my favorite part of the service. Why?
Because people were real. Their hearts were full of worship because of what God had done in their lives. I remember many times people telling of their testimonies and their hearts, as well as those who heard their story, would align in beautiful unison that only the glory of God could orchestrate. Imagine all hearts in one unison. Life change happens when real moments erupt.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 NIV
Let us be vulnerable, not in pseudo humbleness but in genuine humility.
God has given us all groups (family, church, school, work, the bus stop…) to grow us. Simply following protocol won’t save a soul nor will it grow yours either. You want fulfillment? Love obediently hard. Love obediently deep. Just love. 2-23-2020