The Bible tells us that we have (already) been given everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Peter 1:3). The truth is that I have often sought the gain I thought I needed for spiritual freedom through books, teaching CDs, conferences, spiritual growth projects, and even other “self help” plans that I would create. Perhaps you’ve done the same- all in the name of looking for your breakthrough.
The Gospel is good news. And the good news is that your breakthrough is done. Jesus freed you. He has freed you because of His profound love for you.
Again, I often thought that more information, better book studies, or even a certain experience could propel me to deeper levels in my Christian walk. Perhaps you feel- or have felt- the same.
But, when you realize how much your Heavenly Father loves you- when you see the expression of His love on the Cross- you receive an empowerment to live the very life you are created and called to live. It, somehow, simply bubbles forth, overflowing from you.
That said, there seem to be two essentials for living a life that pleases God- and both are the results of feeling loved. In other words, though we try to manufacture them, we can’t. They come forth spontaneously when we sense what the Lord has done for us.
Let me show you…
- Faith is essential to please God. Hebrews 11:6 tell us this plainly: “Without faith it is impossible to please God…” However, we often forget that faith itself actually works by love (see Galatians 5:6). Love is what makes faith “work,” for love builds trust and the assurance that we can offer ourselves wholly to the One who has loved us so graciously.
- Obedience is essential to please God. The Bible also clearly states that if we love Jesus then we will keep His commandments- and, by doing so, we will abide in His love (see John 15:10). As such, we try to “force” ourselves to obey, so that we may feel His presence, so that we may feel His love. However, the Bible tells us just as clearly that it is a revelation of God’s love for us that compels us to obey (1 John 5:2-3). In other words, just as we are more prone to endear ourselves to the wishes and desires of those who have given much to us personally, so also the Bible shows that it is God’s love for us that motivates a like desire in us to follow His ways. And, that following causes us to feel more of His presence, causing us to feel more loved, causing us to follow Him more wholeheartedly, causing us to feel more of His presence, causing us to feel more loved, causing us to follow…
As a whole, the church believes that fear is a greater motivator than love- that legalistic rules are better at helping people “walk out” the Christian life than overwhelming and relentless grace. That’s why we preach controlling sermons (I’ve done it), that’s why we put up a bunch of rules, that’s why we keep a scoreboard as to who’s done what…
But, you see, both of the vital ingredients of the Christian life are fueled by love. In other words, love motivates. This is, perhaps, why Paul wrote that the greatest gift the church could exercise is love.
In other words, we’re back full circle to the very place we began- our reason for teaching these truths, the ones you find in these pages, is because people need to know 1) how much God loves them, and 2) how great a work He has done- and continues to do- for them because of His love. It is the starting point.
It is my prayer that over the next few posts you will see the great depths of our Father’s love for you- and see the incredible comprehensive work of Jesus at the Cross.
His love changes everything. It is your breakthrough.