True love requires everything. Part-time love is full-time selfishness. You might think, “Wow, that sounds harsh.” Well, considering that there are no “standards of life principles” in this entire world that compares to God’s holy word, you might find it to be all too true upon Biblical reflection. Additionally, every single truth expressed in His precious word is hung directly on the following life principle:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” -(Matthew 22:37-39)
A “full-time God” is not looking for “part-time Christians.” If firstly God is love (1 John 4:7-10), and secondly Jesus said that the world will know we are His disciples by our love (John 13:35), shouldn’t we naturally connect the obvious truth that there is no such thing as “partial love”? Infatuation, lust, or covetousness may fall into category, but not love.
Let’s look at marriage as an example:
- Marriage is a divinely mandated covenant between a man & a woman (Genesis 2:18-25).
- The Bible plainly speaks that it is a life covenant. (Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:9).
- The Bible also makes a VERY STRONG comparison to our relationship with Him, to be EXACTLY like a marriage covenant! (Ephesians 5:20-33)
In today’s society & culture, a marriage can be dismantled nearly as easily as it was founded by the drive-through wedding chapels maskeraded by the drunken masses of lasciviousness. In short, marriage today has little to no meaning anymore. Statistically we’ve seen more unwed pregnancies, and “shackling up” than we’ve ever seen in our nation’s history. We’ve violently trampled over what the Bible defines as love with the calloused heels of fleshly lust, personal satisfaction, and self-centered convenience. So inadvertently what you’ll find is, the more we are desensitized about “love” in the natural sense of application, we see that unfortunate effect on our spiritual sense of application: Our love for Jesus.
Think about it… My wife coined a very simple yet profound term that rocked me to the core: Selfishness or Selflessness? It really is a good measuring stick of personal reflection. Do we seek and pray when life is good, and all is well? Or do we tend to find our prayer closet at the mercy of personal trial? Do we find that all, or at very least, most of our prayers consist of a personal “wish list”? When was the last time we found ourselves just praising His glorious name for all His goodness in the very peak of our worst times? Did you know that just like our commitment to a marriage (promising our spouse an undying love and commitment specifying a, “For better OR worse” relationship), it is just the same with God? Job understood that very well. Even when God consciously allowed the raging dog Satan to ravage Job’s life, he responded just as we are to respond to all fiery trials or hardships.
“Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net…He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife, though I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body. Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” -(Job 19:6, 9-27)
What a POWERFUL declaration! He states (paraphrasing), “God has allowed this, my kids are perished, everyone dear to me has abandoned me, BUT I can enscribe in stone with an iron & lead pen that My Redeemer Lives!” We all know the premise of his story, even the victorious outcome, but did you know that part of his response to his devistating trial? Despite any natural desire of the flesh to be angry at God with the ‘all-too-familiar conundrum’ of “Why do bad things happen to good people,” he remained FAITHFUL to his God. That’s what true, Biblical, love looks like. That is, “For better OR worse”.
Literally anything short of ALL of Job’s “heart, soul, mind, and strength,” he would’ve done exactly as his wife suggested: to “curse God and die.” No seriously, that really was her advise. (Job 2:9) Worst advise ever, right? I’d say so.
The truth is because of the curse of sin that mankind has allowed in, bad things will (not might) happen to ALL people. (Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:45) So we have to get passed this subconscious idea that once we come to Christ, all our problems just go away. He provides, yes of course, but remember:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” -(John 16:33)
Concluding, if we say that we love God let us be reminded what the Bible has to say about love and its attributes. 1 Corinthians 13, but specifically verse 7
“Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” -(1 Corinthians 13:7)
-Lust endures some things.
-Love endures everything.
-If it’s not everything for God, we’ve really sacrificed nothing.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, if there be anything in my life that I’m holding back from you, expose it, and forgive me as I today surrender it to you. Take all of me, not some of me. As David the psalmist prayed, I pray to thee now: Let all the words of my mouth, and all the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer!”