What do you love? Who do you love? The Bible and Jesus Christ are clear that our greatest love is to be reserved for our Creator and Redeemer, and that we are to love Jehovah-God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. A Bible reference is not even needed to prove that point to most people in the world. (But here they are anyhow – Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30)
Do you love God? Do you love the “things of God”?
Yesterday, I worked an all-night shift, then came home and went to bed. Six and a half hours later I woke up, tired, and with a combination migraine/sinus headache. That was about 4:15 in the afternoon. I had joined a local sports league recently, and was scheduled to play a singles tennis match at 6:30 that evening. So I had less than two hours, really, to get ready to head for the courts and meet my opponent. But I had this pounding headache. Well, I ate something light to see if that would help, and it didn’t really. So I took a sinus pill with a “D” in it to try and relieve the pressure. Then I decided to help alleviate the migraine part, too, so I took two Excedrin migraine tablets. It was then I remembered also that my right elbow would have bursitis flare-ups when I played sometimes, and it would hurt so bad that I couldn’t hit the ball very well, or sometimes even at all, when it did that – so to hopefully avoid that, I took two Aleve pills. As the time approached to go the courts, my head still hurt some. But I thought to myself: just go on, you know you want to, and give the medicine time to start working, and who knows, you may feel up to playing and do alright, even if it just works a little bit. So I changed my clothes, grabbed my gear, got in the car, and went to meet my tennis buddy for that week’s match.
(BTW, tennis is not an expensive sport, and it is better for your health than that lame golf game that most preachers play at. For tennis, most courts are public and free, and all you need are a pair of good shoes [$35 to $50] and a racket [for the serious player, about $120 to $150]. The only thing you have to put out for each week is a can of balls [$2.18 at Wal-Mart]. It is much cheaper than golf, and you can get a better workout in less time. Golf takes at least 3 hours, not counting the before and after formalities; for tennis – no formalities, just warm up for 10 minutes, play for 60 to 90 minutes, and you are done.)
Now, why did I go through all this, when I could have called and cancelled and rescheduled this weekly routine? Because I need the exercise, because tennis is fun, and most of all – because I LOVE it. I love the courts, the rackets, the feel of the racket making contact with the ball, the sound of the ball coming off the racket, the challenge of getting that first serve in, the rush of a clean cross court winner low over the center of the net, and of course, popping open the new can of balls, hearing the air hiss as the pressure is released, and the smell of those fresh new tennis balls. Oh what joy, oh, what delight! Tennis bliss at its best.
I like the game of tennis and I’ll watch it on TV. I really like watching it in person, if I have the time and get the chance – but I LOVE to play the game itself. That is why I went through the trouble described above: because I LOVE the game of tennis with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Now, what is that you love that much? There is bound to be something in your life that you enjoy, and you are motivated to do whatever you can to participate in it. There are things and activities and people that you love, and you love to engage in them and be around them.
Now here is the point of all this. If you LOVE the Lord God Almighty as you should (and we are commanded to do so) then you will make every effort to worship and serve Him with all your ability. You won’t find reasons or make up excuses to “get out of” worshiping the Lord. Instead, you will do your dead-level best to overcome the obstacles to Christian worship and service so that you can participate. That means that you will read your Bible, you will do some praying, and you will definitely attend a Bible-teaching, Gospel-preaching church where God is honored and Jesus Christ is exalted – all on a regular, consistent basis. A little sniffle, a slight headache, a stiff joint or two, aren't going to stop you – not if you can help it, BECAUSE you LOVE the LORD.
I have learned that people do what they like to do, and that they enjoy what they love. Do you love God? Do you enjoy worshiping Him? Do you like serving the Lord? Do you desire to be around others of like mind and faith? Do you want to please your Savior? Do you love the “things of God?” If you don’t, I’ll tell you from the Bible what your problem is: you don’t LOVE God, because you love the world too much (Matthew 6:24.) The solution is to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
The apostle John said in his epistle in 1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” What he meant is that if your heart is full of love for the world, your heart won’t have room to love God. It doesn’t mean that you are not saved, or not a child of God. It simply means that you don’t love your heavenly Father as you should, because the world has gotten hold of your affections. If that is your case, you need to repent and return to your first love – the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:5). You need to start loving God again. And the way you do that is to quit spending so much time with the world, and start spending time with Him – by reading His word regularly, by talking to Him in prayer every day, and by hanging around His house (church).
One wise preacher gave good advice when he said: “Now that you are saved, be sure to stay in the Bible, stay in prayer, stay in church, and stay in love with God.”
I hope that you will resolve to love the Lord and enjoy the things of God.