Thursday, January 31, 2008

love triangle: put tab A into slot B...

I don't know how to love him.
What to do, how to move him…
- Mary Magdalene/Jesus Christ Superstar

Earlier this week, I posted on what it means to accept God’s love. But as we delve further into the love triangle, there’s more to it than that. To follow in Christ’s footsteps we need to reciprocate that love. Love God back. Do what pleases Him most.

I must admit, there are times when “loving God” is not top of mind. It’s amazing, in fact, how quickly my mind can wander (even during a worship service!). But there are other times, too, times when I am so excited I could just burst.

Then I come across a hurdle: what do you get the God who as everything?

My mom has been dubbed by my brothers as “the ultimate consumer”. Not that she spends a lot of money – she actually has modest needs – but when it crosses her mind to get something, she just goes out and gets it. Kinda adds to the challenge of Christmas shopping. This year we cornered her in September and made her commit not to get a few things she needed.

Then there’s God. Talk about someone who’s hard to shop for!

When you think about all the junk in my closets compared to all that God does for me, just how could I ever reciprocate that oh-so-perfect-love?

In the OT, God gets pretty specific on how to love him. Yeah. There’s the top ten list and all that, but there’s hundreds of other commands as well. What to eat. How to build. Where to stand. When to pray. Etc. Etc.

I used to think it was kinda petty ante stuff compared to “The Great Commandment”. But maybe not. Because in order to live out the Mosaic Laws to the letter, you have to put God at the center of all that you do. Like measuring out all them cubits was sort of a training exercise – one more way to practice putting God first.

If you love me, you will obey what I command… Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me… If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching… John 14
OK, OK, I hear you.

When Jesus says “Love God and love your neighbor,” He simplified everything. But it also puts more of the burden on us. We’re no longer working with a step-by-step manual. It’s more like we’re shown an amazing picture and told – go ahead, make one of these.

I wonder sometimes why that’s so hard. I feel love for Christ, and yet I don’t obey. And it’s not just me. Even the apostles – who saw him, touched him, witnessed miracles – they had trouble staying focused, too.

Today, I’m thinking that perhaps I need set up some “rules” if you will – disciplines that will help me stay centered on God, just like the Israelites of yore.

Maybe in order for me to put God at the center of ALL that I do – I need to intentionally put God at the center of MORE that I do.

OK, maybe I won't give up shrimp and pork ribs today. But I definitely need to schedule some time with God in the evenings. Read the Bible on weekends, too. Listen to responses when I say 'how are you'. Bed-time prayers.

Oh, I want to LOVE GOD more… any ideas? What activities help you put God first?

Up next: sharing that love.


Anonymous said...

there is one really good one.
i put my hands together and point all of my fingers straight up then i cross my thumbs and put my pointing fingers against my lips and close my this point i take a deep breath through my nose, hold it in for a couple of seconds then slowly let it out. then comes the really good part...

i talk with God.
i plead with, whine to, praise, thank, cry to, ache, laugh with and talk with God.

in the car, on my knees, on my face on the floor, doing the dishes, even dancing around the kitchen sometimes.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah...and a couple more!

singing to God
praying in the spirit/tongues

Kansas Bob said...

Many times we fail because we try to obey God with our "Christian flesh". We eventually fail because obeying God is all about inner control and spiritual identity.

TK said...

hey ed,

there is an ancient spiritual discipline called the Awareness Examen. You basically quiet yourself down, whatever that looks like for you, I like downbeat ambient music and a dimly lit room. Then you prayerfully review your day. As you do, ask the question for what moment am I most grateful? As you identify those moments, think about how you felt. Were there others involved? how did they feel? How was God present in that moment? Then express you gratitude to God.

Repeat the process except this time ask the questions for what moment(s) am I least grateful? How was God present in that moment?

It's something I don't do often enough but when i do I have found it always draws my attention and my love to God for the good stuff of each day and the stuff that sucks.

Peace bro

Anonymous said...

we can focus
take our mind off of other things and then think of our is ok i am not done yet...then we take our self and abide in or... give praise and adoration to God and put our focus from our self to Him.

God is continually with us and the Spirit in us, but, it is always good to spend some time focusing on God.

i think that helps us to put God first.

Anonymous said...

put our trust in God

Anonymous said...

sorry if i am bugging you...i keep getting new thoughts.

Ed G. said...

thank you all for your support -- i look forward to putting these ideas to good use in the days ahead... peace to you!

and may Christ be at the center of your life today.