Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Do We Just Love God For His Stuff?

I literally have no idea why I didn't post this post until now. I just happened to be on blogger (not a very usual thing for me these days) and stumbled over this great article I forgot I had written. Its a year old, written in November 2013 and left totally untouched since. Enjoy, my dear friends, brothers and sisters. I hope this blesses you just as much as it did me. (:
-Langston

. . .

Last summer, I remember reading a line from Francis Chan's book Crazy Love that really popped out at me:
Do we only love God because of His stuff?
At that time, it got me thinking, but now I really understand what Francis meant here. Is it really God we're chasing? … Or ... possibly ... just the things we want from Him?

I don't like feeling bad. Nobody does, but I really, really don't like it. I place a lot of emphasis on how I feel, or how things make me feel, to perceive the world around me. So, when I feel bad or negatively towards something, it can potentially make that whole area of my life seem darker and worse than it really is. And, seeing how I'm normally pretty mellow and laid-back, that's not a state of mind I like being in.
However, sometimes that happens so frequently that I get used to it and subconsciously accept it. Lately, God has been reminding me that I don't have to accept that, because He's set me free of all that stuff that burdens me and weighs me down. And that's great!! Praise God! But also, lately these past few months, I've noticed that's become a bigger and bigger reason for me going to God - to change how I feel, not God Himself.

That might be kind of confusing, so I'll try to state it this way: I think I've been going after God's gifts and God's promises, not going after God alone because of who He is. I want peace in my life. God offers peace. So, I go to God to get that peace, and once I have it, I just go back to what I'm doing.  Maybe later I want love, or joy. God offers both. I go to God, get me some joy, then go back to my life. Then later I want something else God offers - courage, maybe. Then self-control. Goodness. Mercy, etc. And there's nothing wrong with asking for those things; they are the fruit of the Spirit, after all. But, it shouldn't be what our entire relationship with God consists of. Here's why:
You'll live in fear of not getting what you ask for, or worse ... loosing it. 
You'll be paranoid of those moments when you feel that joy/peace/whatever-it-is-you-got-from-God slipping away. Even when feel good, you'll dread feeling bad. In a sense, you'll be a slave to yourself because you'll be controlled by your desire to experience those gifts. They become idols. You may still be close to God, but there is a loss in sincerity, since, basically, you're just there for His stuff. God's totally aware of it too; He lets this stuff happen as a wake-up call to ourselves. God cannot be mocked; He'll make sure you get the consequences that your actions deserve, both good and bad (Galatians 6:7).

So here's a question:
Would you still chase God, even if He never gave you the things you asked for? 
Obviously, it's a hypothetical question, but would you? I asked myself this a little while back, and I realized with the mindset I had and the way I was thinking, my answer would be no. I need to desire God for God. Not love Him because of what He's done or what He does for me, but for who He is. When we come to this point, our problems and situations and feelings won't matter. We won't be focusing on them anymore. We will all have our eyes fixed on Jesus, and He'll be all we need. All I need - whether He makes me feel good about it or not. :)

So I encourage you, lay down whatever that thing is, whatever you keep going to God for and leaving Him after you get it. Give it up. Ask God to change your heart. Ask Him to help you see that that feeling, thing, idea or even person, doesn't matter anywhere near as much as God matters. He is above all and in all (Ephesians 4:6). And He is the one who should have your heart - not the gifts He gives us out of His mercy, love and grace. So be strong. Leave those things behind. Pursue God. And remember, He is faithful and knows your heart. He'll supply your every need (Philippians 4:19). But, you must seek God first - and you second.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. -Matthew 6:33 (emphasis mine)

2 comments:

  1. Jesus know we need to receive his blessings, we poor people In need of God's mercy..

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    Replies
    1. Hey there, my wonderful anonymous friend! :)

      You make an excellent point. Thank you for such honesty! We DO need to receive God's blessings, because how else are we going to survive without them? Haha. He's our provider, so we need to latch on to whatever He lavishly blesses us with! He will take care of us, and our faith is perfected when we really receive that truth and live a life according to it. (:

      When I originally wrote that post, I was really struggling with negative emotions. To me, it seemed incomprehensible that a follower of Christ should be feeling negative feelings as I was, and so I'd avidly search and seek God to try and feel better. I explained my predicament as me idolizing gifts from God, such as peace and joy. That very well may have been true, but the root was my misconceptions of the Christian life and being out of touch with reality. Now I know that good and bad emotions are a part of life, and I make sure not to stress too much if I'm simply having "one of those days". Having a healthy view of true spirituality, God, my identity in Him and the realities of daily life helped enormously in getting me more grounded and stable, and less flimsy and wishy-washy. So that's where my post was coming from. :)

      Anyways, my dear sister or brother, I by no means meant that we should deprive ourselves of the life-giving gifts our Father gives us. I can see where that idea could bleed out, as in Christian culture I think we over-emphasize self-denial and forget that God as completely made us new creations, and dwells inside of us. We should deny the flesh, yes; but as new creations with the essence of Jesus living within us, denying ourselves is denying God the opportunity to express Himself through us. Yes, Jesus called us to die to ourselves, but that already happened when we laid down our old lives to receive His new life. Now we're running in step with His Spirit, with our being intricately fused with His. And being these new creations, we can freely accept the gifts God's given us and cherish them as the treasures they are.
      We just need to remember to find our fulfillment in God, first. When we do that, everything else is a breeze. :)

      Thank you again for your precious comment! God bless you, my friend. :D

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