Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley

Recently, I asked our fellowship group if they were being careless about their spiritual well-being. To me a person’s relationship with God is of the utmost importance because it determines his or her destination. After all, God and eternity is a truth that will not go away or can’t be ignored.

I also believe people need to take time to examine their relationship with God and whether they are heading in a direction that will benefit their spiritual life. Lack of such examination may mean that the individual is being careless about God and eternity.

There are various reasons why people are careless about their spiritual life but they all can be summarized in one word-love. People who do not love God with everything in them will lose sight of God and become careless about their spiritual well-being.

There are different reasons a lack of love causes a person to lose sight of what is heavenly and eternal as well as the inability to identify the problems.

The first problem that causes a lack of love is a divided heart. Love is not an emotional feeling but a choice. A divided heart implies a person simply has failed to chose to love God on a daily basis when tempted to do otherwise. It also points to idolatry.

This idolatry causes people to serve more than one master. In most cases, Jesus is the One who takes a back seat to the idols that cleverly hide in the secret chambers of people’s hearts.

This divided heart causes people to forget to chose to love Jesus daily. These people get caught up with daily responsibilities and neglect their relationship with God. This neglect points to the fact that these individuals have not made the investment to keep Him as their main focus.

Keeping God as a main focus is a constant battle that rages in the midst of the cares of the world but it must be fought and won. To keep God as our priority will give us a vision beyond self, a taste of heaven, and the ability to stand regardless of what is going on.

Another reason Christians lack love is that they allow good things to serve as a substitute for a relationship with God. These good things can include such things as family, good deeds, ministry, sound doctrine, and religious activities.

The good things can give a person a false sense of security about his or her relationship with God. In the end, the good things leave the person empty and longing for something more. Sadly, good things cause people to miss partaking of the Bread that came down from heaven and finding true satisfaction.

The final reason that love is lacking in a Christian’s life is because intimacy is missing with God. All relationships are maintained through intimacy. Intimacy implies communion or communication. Very few people know how to communicate because many have not learned to listen with the heart.

The art of listening can only be possessed when a person gets past self. A person’s world is comprised of self. In order to really hear what a person is saying an individual must get outside of his or her world (frame of reference) to clearly perceive. A person’s reality must cease to be about self and become enlarged to consider the realities of others. This results in identification where godly love and compassion can be expressed.

We see that this love was openly expressed by God through the cross. Jesus stepped outside of the glories of heaven to become identified with each of us. His earthly walk and sacrificial death were not for His benefit but for our spiritual wholeness. He entered into man’s reality so He could bring man to a heavenly reality. He became sin so we could be made in the righteousness of God. He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross so we could walk in freedom. He came down so we could look up. He was lifted up on a cross so we could find mercy and grace at the foot of the cross. His blood was shed so we could have a heavenly inheritance. He died so we could live. He rose so that our life could cease to be about us and become about Him in power and glory
The cross of Jesus reveals man’s worse and God’s incredible commitment to each of us.

The cross proves that love is a choice that reaches beyond pampered selfishness, preferred comfort, and desired convenience. It reveals God’s heart and in a silent way communicates to every one of us. In stillness it hears all of our sorrows, graciously gives a solution to every problem, and declares hope that endures regardless of what is going on. It speaks of commitment as it becomes identified with every failure, of mercy as it reaches out in forgiveness, grace as it extends downward to those who are broken, and gives life as it embraces death.

On February 14, we will celebrate the concept of love. Christians should recognize the significance of this virtue as they consider their spouse, embrace it as they thank God for children, and rejoice in it as they remember the life that they have been given because of God’s commitment to them.

At the same time consider your need to inspect the quality of your love. Examine it in light of the cross. The sole act on this instrument serves as an example of real love that is selfless, sacrificial, and committed. It leads to self-denial and possesses the ability to listen and become identified in commitment and compassion. Most of all it serves as the expression of God’s heart.

As some may sing about how love makes the world go around this month, remember for Christians it leads to intimacy with God. It pleases His heart and causes Him to rejoice every time one of His followers accepts His invitation, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:10).

It is within the heart of God that He has an intimate relationship with you. He so wants you to know His voice and to rejoice at the sound of your voice. He wants you to walk with Him in the garden of your heart and sit up at the table with Him in sweet communion. It is because of His love, He longs for intimacy with you.

When was the last time you heard His voice? How long has it been since you last accepted His invitation to come away from all of the demands of your life and commune with Him? If it has been awhile, you are being careless about your spiritual well-being. In fact, you are neglecting it. Stop what you are doing and listen for His invitation. And when you hear it, do not walk but run to the inner chamber and sit at the table and sup with Him.

Then rejoice because once you experience His love you will come to understand what others have discovered. That God’s love brings a glorious satisfaction to the soul as it fills the heart beyond measure with His abiding reality.