You are far more precious to God than the person you love most on earth is to you.
Yet, I so often see people as opportunities for me to feel fulfilled rather than opportunities for me to relate with the secure unthreatened love of Jesus. And that depersonalizes them into useful objects that I either appreciate or despise.
God didn’t put us on earth to retire comfortably, but to draw the people in your sphere of relating to Him by the power of our holy, radically self-sacrificing, other-centered love. We are here to live A NEW WAY, to draw close to God in order to be formed into the likeness of His Son.
Of course we’ll face opposition where the battle to be holy will become so difficult and the narrow road so steep that we may leave the narrow road for a season. But know this: God will not leave us there! There is always a way back from sin! Tears of hope will flow every time we experience God’s loving mercy when we fail. God still loves us. He will not give up on us. He still has a plan.
So we must remain alert to compromised spiritual leaders who entice us more with the hope of blessings than with the promise of holiness, who lead you to think that God’s love makes Him more concerned with your present comfort than your eternal joy.
Love has no meaning unless it remains alive when the one you claim to love seems distant and unresponsive. If you love God only when He immediately satisfies your desires, your love is merely one more form of self-centeredness. Your love becomes trust only when you choose to believe that God brought you out of something bad to bring you into something good BEFORE YOU EXPERIENCE THAT SOMETHING GOOD.
Then your love is sustained by confidence in God’s character, not by enjoyment of current blessings.
Bill Easum puts it this way in his book, Go Big:
One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry was his constant attack on the status quo. He challenged it every time he could. Jesus loved people too much to allow them to remain such small persons. Being nice has nothing to do with being Christian. Being nice is often nothing more than a lack of compassion for people.
People who would rather be nice than Christian do not love enough. They do not have enough compassion. Instead, they are afraid of hurting someone or being hurt. Fear is the opposite of love. Remember, “Perfect love drives out fear” (I John 4:18).
This does not mean that we should set out to intimidate the bully or kick people out of the church. But it does mean that we care enough about the future of our church not to allow anyone to stifle its ability to liberate people from bondage or victimization. It means that we care enough about the bully that we will not allow the bully to intimidate the church because we know the spiritual vitality of both the bully and the church is at stake (120-21).
Does this seem reasonable?