God deserves more
I have been reading through the gospel of John. Today, I came across this passage: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21).
This got me to thinking, “Well I want to love Jesus. I want to love God, and be loved by Him. So, what are these commands that Jesus says I need to obey?” The first two commands of Jesus’ that come to mind are: 1) Love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, soul, mind, and body, and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (I may have paraphrased here, so be sure to look them up for yourself.)
I feel like I understand the second of these commands. I might not always live it out, but I think I have a good idea of how I love myself, and the things I would do for myself. Therefore, I have a good idea of how to love my neighbor on the same level. My struggle is with the first of these commands.
Typically, you love someone or something for a reason. I love my family because they take care of me when I need help. I love my fiancé because she makes me laugh, and pushes me to be a better person. I love a good song because it makes me happy. You follow? Now, why I should love God is not hard for me to understand. I love God because he loves me, and he saved me from eternal separation from him (a.k.a. hell).
What I realized today is that while this is amazing, and blows your mind when you think about someone/something saving you from hell without you ever having done anything for them, it really only means something if you accept the fact that you needed saving in the first place. Without acknowledgement of our need to be saved, Jesus’ death is just further proof that human systems of justice are flawed. Maybe this is why I struggle to understand how to love God with everything I am. Maybe I have not internalized the reality that I needed to be saved. How do I get there?
Written by Chris S., UMin Intern