God's love isn't what changes our lives

Written by Pastor Ben Kerns

ENCOUNTER: READ JOHN 14:15-24

For as long as I can remember, everyone in ministry has been trying to communicate to this broken world that there is a God and that this God loves them very much.  So much, that He gave His only son to pay for our sins so that we can be in a restored relationship.  And in this restored relationship, we can now be fully embraced by God and live in the spotlight of his love and affection.  We sing our anthem, "Reckless Love," and our congregations swoon and weep as we celebrate over and over how much God loves us.

It is nice that the warriors who have worked so hard at transforming God's image from a one of judgment and wrath to love have won!  In fact, they have gained so much that nobody in the western world would even consider that there is a God who has anger or wrath.  Ok, maybe some old skool boomers, and for sure some old skool boomer Catholics.  But everyone else has a one-dimensional view of God, and that is that God is Love!

Instead of our culture reciprocating God's love and returning His affection, we have become spoiled brats.  

We love that God loves us, and that means that he is never to stop pouring grace and blessing on us.  But when that gravy train ceases either by God's providence or by our dumb choices, we freak out and throw in the towel.

It seems to me that receiving love doesn't cause our lives to change.  And this is true in my own life as well.  People loving me, doesn't really change me either. But what does cause life change is when we love somebody, we actually want to be more like them.

Think about somebody that you truly love.  Because of your love FOR them, you long to find out what pleases them and blesses them and work towards that end.  You don't sit around receiving love FROM them and then return the favor.

We / I need a fundamental change in focus:

If we really want to experience a life change, then I think we need to change the focus of our posture towards God.  We all get that God loves us, but we struggle with understanding that we are to love God in return.  Maybe that needs to be the focal point of our prayer life these days.  

What matters is not that you believe that God loves you or not, what matters is whether or not you love God.

Life change happens when we love!  Not when we are loved.

BE REFLECTIVE:

How have you changed your life for people that you love? How have you changed your life for God, because you love him? If you loved him more, what is a way that your life would change even more?

BE A BLESSING:

Jesus loves people, all people. Jesus is passionate about his care for the people on the margins, those who are getting steamrolled by people in power. Because of your love for Him, how can you partner more with Jesus to love those people on the margins? (The margins of society, your work, your family?)

BE TOGETHER:

The Christian life is not something we do alone. Just like we need other input to help us love our spouses or kids better, we do need people to walk with us to help us love Jesus better. Who in your world can you invite to walk with you in this?