Leo Tolstoy once said:
“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.”
My relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life. This relationship has led me to spend two summers in full-time ministry in Williamsport, Pennsylvania (where I will most likely be moving next year)…it has led to countless hours in youth work, worship ministry, etc. But most importantly, this relationship has shaped who I am and all that I strive to be.
Lately, due to many extenuating circumstances, my time with God has taken a backseat to everything else going on in my life. Last night, as I sat alone in my apartment, I decided to spend time with my Maker…and I did. I spent 2 hours praying, singing, reading, etc., which made me realize how much I have missed this time with Him. This post is a reflection of what I learned last night, because this is going to change many aspects of my life over the next few months.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10
My strength, my joy, my serenity comes from the Lord. I have never been content with the ways of this world. Yet, lately, I haven’t been seeking my refuge in the arms of the Lord as I used to…and this needs to change. For, as MercyMe so eloquently put it,
“I have not been called to the wisdom of this world but to a God who’s calling out to me. And even though the world may think I’m losing touch with reality, it would be crazy to choose this world over eternity.”
What really matters in life? What is worth living for?
“Healer heal me
Savior save me
Maker change me
Lover love me
‘Cause I’m so tired of living for
The kind of love
That only lasts for a while
The pain, the shame
Tear me up inside
So I fall on my knees
To get back on my feet again
And I cry out for You
Would You please speak to me…”–Ten Shekel Shirt
Love is the most important thing. Not the kind of love that is fleeting, but the love that is eternal. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all we are and have, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Is there anything more important in life?
1 John tells us that because God first loved us, we can more fully love. If I am relying on the love of my Lord for my strength and for my fulfillment, then I am able to love freely, without worrying about what I will get in return. I will be able to care for my neighbors, for those in need. And, when I love this way, God gives us life abundantly.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshall and direct our energies wisely.”
–Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message)
Love is life…love is everything. And I want to love more…more freely…more abundantly…I want to fully embrace the “greatest commandment”, for that is all that really matters in life. I want to live unapologetically, and how better to do that than to serve God with all that I am?
I don’t know how this is going to play out in my life practically, but I know that I have decided to once more live as my Lord has called me to live, which is to love.
“He’s everything to me, more than a story…”