Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Worldly Love vs. God's Love

We live in a world that is obsessed with love. And it is impossible not to buy into it, even just a little, since we all have a deep down craving to love and be loved. God put that love-shaped hole there for a reason.

It is very difficult to look back on my life and see times when I bought into the world's idea of love to fill that hole in me, instead of filling it in the way that God designed it to be filled. Our culture is obsessed with human love, romantic love, and even parental love, but not with Godly love. Most people are rushing around trying to find someway or someone to quench their thirst for love, but they never even think to turn to the God who built us to be quenched by him.

I am a good example of this. As a teenager I went to a Christian summer teen camp with my best friend, and it was a wonderful experience. With tons of fun activities and a great speaker working to bring teen hearts to Christ, it was a perfect place for a teen to be. However, I remember that as much as I was moved by the speaker, and as much as I desired to feel close to God like the speaker was, I also spent a good deal of time chasing after some of the cute boys who were there. And believe me, I was not the only one. Teen hormones were raging, and God wanted me to date Christian boys, right?!

This boy chasing went on for a long time, and eventually started to include non-Christian boys. I thought it would be fine to flip around the process a little. I could fall in love with someone and then evangelize them into being the perfect Christian boyfriend/future husband. The result was a broken heart and religious confusion on my part. 

Teen culture and even adult culture is so centered around finding that perfect someone, about getting married and having babies with your soul mate, about finding happiness, that it is no wonder even Christian teens buy into it.

What our culture doesn't talk about is the fact that a soulmate, kids, jobs, and all the happiness in the world will not change the fact that there is a maker of this world and he is just. In being just, that means he will judge us according to our deeds, and we know from scripture that even one sin is enough to make us unworthy in his eyes. Sin is sin. However, God bridged the gap of sin between us and him through his son on the cross. The only payment for sin can be blood, and the shedding of the blood of Jesus was deemed worthy enough for all the sins of humanity. All we need to do is take that gift of salvation he offers us:

Isaiah 53:6:  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

Ephesians 2:8-9:  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

And my personal favorite when we talk about love:
1 Peter 3:18:   For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 

The verses above are just a few examples of the proof we have that Jesus died for our sins, washing us clean before God so we are not among those who are judged. In Revelations Chapter 20:11-14 we see that God will judge everyone according to what they have done, unless their names have been written in the book of life, who were not cast into hell. The book of life being those who have accepted the gift of Jesus' sacrifice to wash them clean so they will not be judged for what they have done on earth.

The purpose though, of salvation is not just so that we can all be spared from hell. Why would God want to have us around in heaven anyway? We see from 1 Pete 3:18 above that Jesus suffered and died in order to bring you to God. Throughout the entire Bible we see instances of God seeking companionship with people, of his comforting, loving and caring for his people. This isn't a God who wants to be distant from us, but our sin keeps us distant from him. Therefore, out of his love he gave us Christ's blood to wash us clean so that we can be brought to him! So that we can have a real relationship with him and not have that barrier of separation between us. Good works and real freedom from sin are then results of this relationship with God. As Jesus himself said after he forgave sin "go, and sin no more".

 That relationship and the outpouring of love from God which is a result of that relationship is what that love-shaped hole in us was built for. We were built to be fulfilled and loved by God and to love him back! Our culture tells us that men, jobs, things, and children are all things which will fulfill us and make us feel loved. However, that is like trying to fill a round hole with a square peg. You cannot fulfill a god-shaped hole with anything but God. 

I am lucky enough to be married to a wonderful man, and I had a single friend recently tell me (after I told her the above) "it's easy for you to say, you found your soul mate at age 21!". That is true. Now that I have my wonderful husband, I cannot imagine a life without him. And I hope to find joy in being a mother someday. But as I have grown closer to God, I have come to realize that my stability, my ultimate joy, and my greatest love need to reside in him, and not in my husband or anything else. First and foremost, I serve the Lord. My husband and my children and EVERYTHING else come after that. He is what fulfills me. 

We often hear people say "you cannot love another until you love yourself". I think it is actually "you cannot truly love another and be totally fulfilled until you love God". I see teenagers, Christian and non-Christian, chasing one another, looking for love and that warm fuzzy feeling. I see our culture obsessed with sex, because that seems to be close enough to love for many people and it is confused as the ultimate love by others. I see women my age, freaking out over the fact that they are growing older and worrying they will never find love. 

I know there will probably never come a day until after the events of Revelations when the world will glory in the love of God above worldly love, but what I truly hope for is that CHRISTIANS would glory in the love of God, and elevate it above the love in this world. Parenthood and marriage are all wonderful things, and I thank God every day for bringing me my spouse, however I know that God is always first and will always be first. 

Please share this message with women and teens around you who are struggling with their singleness. I recommend the below book for all women. Read it to your daughters!
Amazon link

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I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!