Archive for November 1st, 2009

All because of Jesus

(a sequel to yesterday’s post)

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.… We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9-10, 19

The reason loving Him above all else is so hard is because I try to do it myself, because I know I should.  Rather than loving Him whole-heartedly because of all He has done for me, knowing that it is the least I can do for Him in return. 

Jesus Christ made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:7-8)  I don’t know about you, but that verse really puts everything in perspective.  Christ was tortured, beaten, and humiliated because He loved me so much, and wanted me to be able to spend eternity with Him.  He gave everything for me.  And yet I pout and whine every time one little sinful pleasure is taken away from me. 

Once again, because God has commanded wholehearted love for Him, He will give us strength to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” (Heb. 12:1), if we will just ask for it.  “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  (1 Corinthians 10:13)  Because of our sinful nature, the desire to please ourselves is a common temptation.  But God is faithful.  Wherever there is temptation, God will provide a way out.  Always.  We just don’t always see the escape route because we aren’t looking for it.  As long as we keep our hearts focused on Him, He will help us to love Him more than anything.

Think of the story of Abraham.  God had given Abraham and Sarah the son He had promised, and then He commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah.  Abraham could have said, “Now look, God.  You can have everything I own, but I must keep my son that You gave me.”  But no, Abraham obeyed God, knowing that His ways are higher than ours.  He had the attitude of Job: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)  Abraham didn’t understand, but he unselfishly obeyed.  As Abraham was poised ready to kill his son in obedience to God, Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord, stopped him.  God was testing Abraham, to see if he truly loved Him more than anything.  Abraham passed that test, and God blessed him.  “Therefore from one man (Abraham), and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” (Heb 11:12)

We must truly, wholeheartedly love God, and give all to Him because of what He has done for us, knowing that He knows what is best for us.  If we do this, sometimes He might give back one of those little pleasures for us to use for His glory.  It’s as if He is saying, “Because I know that now you love me more than anything, I will give this back to you because I love you.”

He asks for everything from us, not for His benefit, but for ours.  It is when Jesus is all we have left that we soon discover He is all we really need. – GiGi Graham Tchividjian (paraphrased)

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