I once saw a birthday card that began its greeting with “Everything I love in life is illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
March 2, 2022
God created us from nothing. Such a thought is mind-boggling because we can only create nothing from nothing. As human beings, we need something to create something. We have to have the raw materials to make an omelet. It’s also a mind-boggling thought to consider that it wasn’t too long ago that we were nothing. We didn’t exist. But God used our parents to freely give us life. Then He further lavished His kindness upon us with the beauty of creation—the breathtaking blue skies, colorful birds, tall trees, luscious fruits, vibrant colors, music to give us pleasure, and love and laughter. But the kindness and the great love that God has for us was gathered together as one brilliant laser beam of sunlight:
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death… (Luke 1:78-79)
It was the ultimate act of kindness—the unspeakable gift of the cross:
But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, AMP)
What does He then require in return for such love?
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
After such evident displays of love, we should have no problem loving God. But we sometimes do. We make it complicated, though it is really quite simple.
I received this email from a distraught young lady:
I’ve been “saved” for around 4 years. I have a strong belief in God. I fully believe what Jesus did on the cross and understand the legal transaction as explained in your videos. When I was first saved, I was on fire; nothing could stop me talking about God. Then very very slowly, I slid back into the world. My beliefs about God never changed. I just ignored them. I started smoking again, and now unfortunately I’m having great difficulty stopping. My question is: HOW do I get that fire for God back?! I pray daily. I’ve repented, but I can’t kick the smoking habit as much as I need to. I watch your videos every day to examine myself against the commandments, and I also read the Bible daily, albeit not a great amount—maybe just a verse or other days a chapter or two—but I do read it daily. How do I get my relationship back with God and become truly born again? I don’t think about much else. It’s so important, but I don’t know how to obtain it. Please help!
There was a certain husband and wife who, for the first few years of marriage, loved each other with a passion. But over time, the husband slowly lost both his love and his concern for his wife. He became more involved in his work and sports, and it was those things that eventually became his passion.
It was because of this that he stopped buying her gifts and showing her those little acts of love that happened in the first few years of marriage. As time further passed, he began to consider getting a divorce. This was a great tragedy because his faithful wife never wavered in her love for him. She daily prepared his meals, washed his clothes, and catered for his every need.
During their early years of marriage, she showed how much she loved him when he contracted a serious lung disease—brought on because of his heavy smoking. The doctors said that the cancer would kill him if he didn’t find a donor. She proved to be a perfect match, and at great physical pain to herself, she gave up a portion of one of her lungs for him. That saved his life, but it left her with such shortness of breath that she was permanently confined to a respirator and a wheelchair. Yet, even with all the suffering, she never regretted her sacrifice—such was her love for her beloved spouse.
“Any fleeting thoughts of falling away can only enter our minds if there is a shallow knowledge of the nature of sin.”
If the husband came to you to get advice on whether he should begin divorce proceedings, what would you say to him? Hopefully, you would look him in the eye and tell him that he is a hard-hearted wretch of a man who should get on his knees in front of his dear sweet wife and plead for her forgiveness. You would perhaps then explain that his love for her is a choice, and in the light of her sacrifice, it should be a joy to return her love. This may be dutiful at first, but as he shows her acts of kindness, tender feelings should follow because they will be ignited by gratitude for her sacrifice.
What then should we feel in the light of the sacrifice of the cross? Are you lukewarm, or are you perhaps considering divorcing yourself from Jesus and going back to the world? If so, you should fall on your knees for such terrible sin and plead with God for His forgiveness:
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Any fleeting thoughts of falling away can only enter our minds if there is a shallow knowledge of the nature of sin. That leaves us with a lack of understanding of what happened at the cross, and the result is a lack of genuine repentance. And, if there’s no repentance, we are unsaved despite the profession of faith.