Thursday, October 08, 2009

Christian Manhood - Loving God

We were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). We were made out of mere dirt in a form that would reflect God’s likeness. Think about that! That is why He made us – to show forth His glory. The fall, of course, messed up that likeness. God’s image is still there but there are many blotches on the image and it’s our responsibility to pursue Godliness so that the world will see what He is like.

God also wanted a relationship with us. There had been a loving relationship among the members of the trinity in eternity past and that relationship and fellowship was intended to extend to mankind. After the fall, when God came to walk and talk with Adam as He normally did, Adam hid himself. Sin had put a separation between God and man. (Isaiah 59:2)

Our challenge as men is that in the middle of a world marred by sin and with personalities wounded by sin, we are still to reflect God’s glory and have a relationship with God and with other human beings.

What then does God want from me? In Deuteronomy 6:5 God says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus added “and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39. He goes on in Deuteronomy to say that these words are to be in our heart.

Loving God is a command. That means it’s not just an emotional warm feeling. It is something we are to do. It requires action. Loving God involves our whole being. If we are to love God with our heart, that implies the emotional side of our being. Loving with our soul implies the psychological side. Loving God with our strength means there is energy and power behind it. And if we are to love God with our mind, that means our focus and whole rational being is involved. The Scripture adds to the intensity of the command by using the word “all”. We are to love with all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength and all of our heart. That’s a tall order and one that should bring with it a great deal of humility as we realize how totally impossible it is to do this perfectly.

When we think about the chief ways to love God, we need to consider these passages: Deuteronomy 5:10; John 14:15; John 14:21 and Luke 6:46. I think if you read these verses carefully you will discover that loving God is closely associated with obedience. We can’t really say we love God and then refuse to do what He asks. So if we are to pursue loving God with our whole being, we are going to have to pursue obedience with our whole being as well.

Jesus said that the second commandment is to love our neighbor as our self. That too is a difficult assignment. Just think about the many ways we show love for ourselves. We make sure we are well fed and generally cared for. We make sure we have enough sleep and enough leisure. Jesus said that we are to look after our neighbor in the same way. Immediately when we hear that we begin to make excuses as to why He can’t really mean that since we do have to take care of our own job and our own home and that leaves very little time to focus on those same areas in the life of our neighbor. As I think about myself, I’m amazed that I have so little concern for those around me. It’s pretty convicting to think about, isn't it.

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