There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.
1 John 4:18
It seems like more and more in today’s society, we’re (and when I say we, I include myself) guilty of making our relationship with God a list of do’s and don’ts. Do: read your bible every day, pray every day, give money to the poor, food to the hungry. Don’t: drink, smoke, have premarital sex, sin. For a while this was my thinking process behind glorifying God, don’t do the things that God tells me not to, and do the things that He tells me to. Chalk it up to young, naive faith, or fear, or a skew point of view of who God really is, and what a relationship with Him should be, but there’s a different type of relationship forming in my heart now.
Tuesday night, college night at 12 Stone church, my relationship with the Lord was ripped down to the frame. The speaker quoted 2 Samuel 12:8, where God tells David that if everything that He had given him was not enough that He would have given him even more. And referenced a verse where Jesus says if you love Him, and you love His Father, then He will love you. But the word love isn’t the real translation from the Greek. The translation from the Greek is that He will give you purpose and value. Of course I had heard that and knew the story of David and had heard the other verse before, but in this context, I was broken. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re comfortable in your faith, or casual with your walk with the Lord. When everything is going good and you relax, it’s easy to lose focus. And that’s where I had gotten to, without knowing it, because I walked outside the building after the service was over and didn’t have any idea what I had been broken down inside for. But as I thought about it the rest of the week, I figured out what had happened in my heart. I was missing the real relationship with God. See, I was “doing” all the right things, and wasn’t “doing” the things that I shouldn’t, going through life with what I thought was following God, or what I thought would keep me from going to Hell. But every verse read, the chapel service Thursday, a video watched on youtube, told me I missing the mark. I was just checking off the list to glorify God. But what I’ve come to realize is that doing the do’s and not doing the don’ts doesn’t glorify God. It’s loving Him with everything that you have. As I heard from an extremely wise woman, once that you’re loving God with everything that you have, the do’s will come and the don’ts won’t. And not from a sense of fear of punishment, or because you have to because God said to, but from the sense that your love is so intense, so strong, you are so enamored by God, that you would never do anything to make Him sad, or not something that would not glorify Him. From here on out, that’ll be my prayer. That I can love God more than anything imaginable and not just wander through life checking off the list of things not to do.
On a closing note, I said earlier that my relationship with the Lord was ripped down. But it was His way of showing me what He wanted. And what He wanted for me. And all it was, was more love.