I Love God, but...
Fresh off the heels of February, we've all been bombarded with messages centered around love-- love for our spouses, love for our families, self love-- but what about our love for God. How does it compare?
"What is love?"
Personally, I love God, but I realize that's not entirely how I feel about Him. Most of us will openly declare that we love God without realizing its the kind of obligatory responsibility we have to 'love our neighbor.'
I'm not going to attempt to explain the complexities of love here, but what we can all agree on is that it's too intricate, too far reaching and, honestly, too touchy of a subject. What I can call out is that we've placed this complexity and ambiguity on love.
Love is very simple-- it is God. That means true love is Christ and His infinite wisdom, grace and mercy. Everything else is a derivation from that pure, unadulterated love.
Looking at it this way puts a few things into perspective:
- We can never out-love God's love for us.
- Our personal understanding of love is (and always will be) personal-- and therefore biased.
- There are more ways (rooted in love) to express our feelings towards each other and God.
"I've got a crush on you!"
Think way back to your first crush. How did they make you feel? How did you act around them? I'm pretty sure you went through phases of envisioning your entire life with them--from the number of kids to the house and cars you all owned and the family vacations you'd go on.
If you like someone, you find yourself wanting to be around them more. You start putting extra effort into the little things you do when around them. You pay more attention to how you present yourself and you're even more careful about what you say (as not to be a total embarrassment).
The same principles come to light when you don't just love God-- you like Him. And I mean really, really really like Him.
"Do you like me? Circle yes or no."
When you like God, you have those same feelings towards Him as you did your childhood crush. You want to be around Him (in His presence) more. You want to look, speak and carry yourself the way you hope He wants you to.
You don't make these types changes because He's demanding them. God will never force us against our will to love Him. When we make these changes in our life it's because we genuinely want to make Him happy.
Now think back to that crush of yours. What would you do if you found out they had a crush on you too?
I actually experienced this later in my life than grade school. I had a serious, butterflies-camped-out-in-my-stomach crush on this guy for almost three years. One day, one beautiful day, I found out he had a crush on me too and I freaked out! Even though nothing came from it (nope, no fairy tale ending here), the simple confirmation that the person I liked had the same feelings towards me was probably one of the coolest, cheesiest moments in my life.
The awesome thing about liking God is that He will recognize how much you care about Him... immediately. He'll notice the efforts you put into making Him happy. Both the subtle and maybe not-so-subtle things you do to let Him know you want Him to be a part of your life. That's how we touch His heart and from there, He can transform ours.
Fall in love... again.
Even with our commitment to showing God how much we like Him, we have to be careful that these gestures don't become superficial. Afterall, the goal is to both love and like Him. That means its goal to take being open, vulnerable and honest with Him to connect on a deeper level.
Through these interactions, we stop seeing God as just a provisionary and a giver, and start seeing Him as a friend and confidant. We dig deeper into what we can do for Him and how to maintain a healthy relationship with Him. We not only grow to love God, but we continue to like Him more each day.
Shifting our actions to show God how much we like being around Him and how our feelings towards Him are helps keep our relationship with Him fresh and sentimental.