Is God a Great Santa in the sky who laughs and lovingly indulges everything that we do? Or is there more to faith, love, and life?
Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
Ever since the Beatles came out with the song, “All You Need is Love,” our church and society seem to have adopted that creed. It’s as if we’re meant to excuse everything under the sun that we do or don’t do, and cover it all under the umbrella of love.
Don’t get me wrong, love is the greatest of all things, but we’re talking about real love here, not the indulgent, narcissistic love that our society idolizes. This text is about the total love that involves faith and loyalty, and in this case, it is the faithful love that we give to God.
Sometimes I worry about my own generation and how casually we treat God. Maybe it’s nothing to some folk, but as a pastor with people under my spiritual care, it’s a very big deal to me. If I couldn’t care less about where people ended up eternally, then the way we narcissistically approach the throne of God’s grace wouldn’t bother me one bit. But because I do care, I express my concerns in my preaching, my writing, and even my blogging.
Maybe I’m a dogmatic dinosaur who has outlived my need to be here. Or perhaps I’m a joyless Jeremiah or preacher-prophet who is destined to cry out in the wilderness of the world. Whatever the case may be, my approach to faith is not to follow the popular or well traveled path; I follow God first and lean on Christ when I fail. I guess it could be called ‘old-time religion’ and, as the song boldly declares, ‘if it was good for Paul and Silas, then it’s good enough for me.’
We’re all heading into a New Year and we will soon make new resolutions. How about we all take on an old one: to love God with all of our heart, strength, body, and soul? Perhaps then we would be able to show the world that faithful love Christians keep talking about. Perhaps then we would put God first and realize that life, as Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church so simply stated it, is not about us. It’s all about God.
Prayer: Lord God, sometimes we take You for granted and we believe that anything we say, do, or write will be indulged by You. Forgive us for being so vain and for putting ourselves, our needs, wants, and desires, at the center of our lives. Re-teach us that the universe does not spin around us, and that we are all creatures created by You. In Christ’s Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.