It’s been a refreshment to re-engage with the truth that in fact God is the central focus of the Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s staggering and encouraging that the God Who could condemn me has instead given me Himself in pure and constant love. Recently my wife wisely responded to my 15 year repeated consultation in which I always say, “It’s going to be okay.”
Carrie reminded me that while any given THING might not always be okay, it’s true that God is good and His love is real and lasting. We discussed how a paradigm shift needs to set into our hearts like super glue, holding our focus on the delights of being in a loving and eternally loyal relationship with God where He has initiated this love by dying on the cross for us as the second Person if the Triune God, the God-man Jesus Christ.
If Jesus hadn’t died for our sins, we would still be trapped in the idolatry, sin slavery, and vanity of self-worship, and it has to be recognized that apostasy is simply a rejecting of this love of God and feverishly attempting to once more worship oneself all over again.
Every follower of Jesus is at risk of functional apostasy. Meaning we should daily be stirring one another up to love and to good works, realizing how evil even remaining sin is as how real the temptations are around us to reject God’s love at least functionally and slide toward some form of self-love.
Look at the pop Christian comments being shouted from pulpits across America, stating that the first priority in this life is self love because supposedly this is how we learn to love others. This is crap. Sorry. It’s literally BS. The only way we can truly understand love, eternally holy love, we must meditate upon the self-giving nature of God’s love. God gave us Himself in love, and our first and daily response to the Cross of Jesus Christ should be to love the LORD and others by giving ourselves to this love relentlessly and joyfully.
One helpful qualification is in the area of social justice focus points. Love is hugely inclusive of pouring oneself into loving those in hard places (See Matthew 25), yet we are also called to love and serve the household of faith (other followers of Jesus), and poverty/need is not always and only financial. As we pray about HOW God would have any one of us to love the Lord and others, we would do well to PRAY and not only hear the most trendy social justice issue.
I saw this store recently, “Frivolous: Wonderfully Unnecessary”… A good practice is to rid ones life of frivolous focus points in many respects. However, do not too quickly assume that you or your gifts or your abilities are frivolous, especially in God’s eyes. As I read Piper’s book I’m reminded that we were not only worthless when God chose to die for us, we were His enemies! While we were still sinners Christ died for us!
God didn’t pull already existing value out of us. He isn’t like so many in this world who look for the gold to be taken from people, harvest that gold, and then leave the poor sap to his or her own misery and frustration. Instead God has take us and turned us into His treasure. He has invested His love and righteousness into us and clothed us with royal robes, calling us sons and daughters of the King of kings.
These points are NOT popular. Yet they are true, and as we soak in this truth of the self-giving nature of God, His nature will show up more and more in us and we will amazingly broaden the smile of our King. He doesn’t need us, and yet it would appear He has arranged the world to need HIM through us as genuine followers of Jesus.
This makes us limitless in a sense as we give of ourselves to others, because what we are ultimately supplying is more and more of God to those we pour our lives out in love to… We are conduits of God’s divine and varied graces, the chief of which is the gift of GOD Himself from God Himself to humanity in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!