Believing in – and Loving – God (Issue 1.28)


Originally Written for 5/3/09

I’m reading a book entitled Crazy Love by a pastor out in California named Francis Chan; to be honest, it’s the first I’ve ever heard of him and (obviously) the first book I’ve read by him.  I want to quote a few things he wrote in a chapter entitled “Crazy Love”:

“Recently, out of my desire to grow in my love for God, I decided to spend a few days alone with him in the woods.

“Before I left, a friend prayed, ‘God, I know how much you’ve wanted this time with Francis…’  Though I didn’t say it at the time, I secretly thought it was a heretical way to pray and that he was wrong to phrase it that way.  I was going to the woods because I wanted more of God.  But He’s God; He certainly wouldn’t want more of me!  It seemed demeaning to think that God could long for a human being.

“The more I searched the Scriptures, however, the more I realized my friend’s prayer was right on, and that my rejection to his prayer indicated how much I still doubted God’s love. My belief in God’s love was still theoretical, not a reality I lived out or experienced.” (emphasis mine)

Later on in the chapter Pastor Chan discusses the difference between loving a person for who they are versus loving a person for what they give us, and he draws the parallel to how some Christians approach God – they seem to love Him more for the gift of everlasting life than loving Him for who He is; he even goes so far as to write, “[A]n important question to ask ourselves is: Are we in love with God or just his stuff?”  It reminded me of an experience earlier this week in court where I saw a young man apologize to the judge and say “I’m sorry.”  To his apology, however, the judge looked at him and said, “I don’t believe you – you’re not sorry because your behavior doesn’t demonstrate that.  You’re sorry that you got caught and that you’re here in my court room, but you’re not sorry for what you did.”

I think that’s what Pastor Chan is referring to.

Let’s go back to the first quote, though, and look again at the section that I put in italics.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that quote this week, and I’ve been asking myself what I do that demonstrates my love to God.  Another question raised in the book by Chan was, “If we stopped believing in God right now, how would our life change?”

And when it was phrased that way, it started it hit home a little more.  I pray you and I meditate on that question a little bit this week, and then use the answer to determine our response.

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