Wednesday, June 18, 2014
John 11 -- the love of God, continued
What's the definition of love?
We've touched on this in other studies . . .
The world would have us think that the definition of love is the kind of thing we see on the television; it's often purely sexual, very shallow, doesn't last long, has a lot to do with approval and being famous and wealthy, etc, etc.
Oy. The world misses the mark, right?
They really think that love is when people make much of you.
Here is what I mean by that phrase . . . making much of someone is when you cherish or take special interest in them, or you treat them as very special, and very important. An adoring public that applauds your latest feat or accomplishment. People who make much of you because of what you can do for them.
Have we taken this worldly definition of love (being made much of) and tried to fit God into that mold? Is the only way that you feel loved by God, is if He is making much of you? If you feel He is "blessing you real good" then you feel He loves you, but if you are hitting some bumps in the road, He must not love you as much?
Many of us have swallowed the line sometimes, that the most satisfying thing in life is to be made much of. If I can just get people to like me, to approve of what I do, to clap when I finish singing in church, to give me a raise or award at work, to pay attention to me, oh, then I'd be satisfied.
You would not.
It ain't in human nature. At least not for long. Pretty soon you would be looking for your next time that people would treat you special, pat your head.
It's our human nature to say, "I can't get no satisfaction."
Sorry, but that is the unvarnished truth.
How can we find satisfaction? Here is the plan: We will be satisfied when we forget ourselves and are swallowed up in Jesus Christ and His love for us. When He becomes our treasure, what we cherish and value, and what we spend the rest of our lives growing in our capacity to see and enjoy, we will be satisfied. We were made with a longing to know and delight in Him, and it will just keep getting better, the more we see and enjoy Him.
Now, if we need to see and enjoy Him more, logically we need to pay less attention to people making a fuss over us, right? We were made to behold Him, and to glorify Him. Let's look at this more closely.
Let's say that you have experienced a time when people made a big fuss and praised you. They said some awfully nice things, and some of them gushed about how they delighted in you and approved of you. Now, that is pretty cool in the short term, but is it right to be craving that kind of attention all the time? Uh, no. We need to be able to accept this type of thing graciously and move on. In fact, if they did that all the time, you'd kinda feel like it wasn't quite right . . . like this wasn't the way it's supposed to be. That kind of adulation, almost worship sometimes, is supposed to be what we give, not what we get. We humans can't take a steady diet of that without it changing us into different people!
Another thing to look more closely at: have you ever been to a place that is awe-inspiring, like the Swiss Alps, or the Rocky Mountains, or maybe Niagara Falls? When you are standing there looking at that magnificent site, does it make any difference to your self esteem? By that I mean, does it puff you up with pride? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Personally, things like that make me feel truly tiny, in comparison to the mighty power that shaped those sites! We were created to be joyful and satisfied by the infinite power and authority that created those wonderful places.
I truly believe that the love of God should make us forget the quest for applause of men. The approval of mere humans should be so low on our priorities . . . the one thing that will truly satisfy our souls is the love and power of Jesus Christ -- that is what we should pursue. As we continue to study this awesome chapter in John, we will see how we can devote ourselves to seeing and enjoying our Lord.