“And I would do anything for love!” declares this one famous song, over and over again. “I’ll be there till the final act… And I’ll take the vow and seal a pact.”
And it’s true, isn’t it? People have done a lot of good (and stupid) things for love. Driven by this intoxicating feeling (or by the infuriating lack of it), they have accomplished wondrous deeds: build a palace, write a song, write a poem, or rob a bank.
Love, it seems, does make the world turn on its axis :)
Seriously now. Though I haven’t yet experienced true love with a woman, love is indeed the main driving force in my own life. And like countless others before me, I’ve also done some unbelievable things (some would say stupid) because of it. You know what I’m talking about, my friends. I’m talking about my love for God… for Jesus.
In my testimony, I’d already talked about how I experienced God’s love personally, and how I responded to that love by surrendering my life to him. And so, I will no longer dwell on these things.
Rather, what I want to say to you now is this: Because the world has already become so blasé about love — would do anything for it today, but will move on to another one tomorrow — “Sooner or later you’ll be screwing around,” as the song puts it — oftentimes we also bring this kind of mentality into our churches, especially in the way we see (or judge) other people’s relationship with God.
What I mean is this: As Christians, we’ve come to expect that loving God and giving him our lives are already a matter of course — already a given. So there’s nothing special about them anymore. Nothing to celebrate. And nothing to commend. Therefore, because these things have become ordinary to us, we are blown away when we do encounter people who do love God to extraordinary levels. We just couldn’t believe it, we just couldn’t accept it — and so we reject it — that there are those who actually love God that MUCH!
Sounds familiar? Think of pioneers. Think of missionaries. Think of front-line evangelists.
And this mentality, I believe, is one of the root causes for the pains I’ve experienced these past couple of years….
But I won’t elaborate on that statement. No. Because as I’ve said, this is only my side of the story.
If you ask me, someone who is earnestly seeking God’s will for his or her life — and who is, in doing so, making the necessary sacrifices — deserves my highest respect. Because I know personally just how hard that is.
Another problematic mentality that is related to this one is this: Because loving God and surrendering to him have become expected and ordinary, the results of these actions have also become expected and ordinary. In other words, when someone gives his or her life to Jesus, we expect that person to start living (sooner or later) a righteous, balanced, and blessed life — a life that is dedicated to the ministries in the church. Which is, of course, what normally happens.
But my friends, we must never forget — never! — that God is a sovereign God, and that he can do whatever he wants for his pleasure! We cannot put him in a box, and dictate the things he can or cannot do, or how he will do them. I ask you, what if God has other plans for a person than the ones we envision? How would we react then? After all, a life that has been given to him is his — and his alone — to mold, to control, and to build.
Yes, it is good that we are increasing in our knowledge of God and how he works in our lives, but we must always leave room for his sovereign will. Or else, we are in for a rude awakening when God breaks all of our expectations!
And I tell you truly, it feels really bad, when people have made plans for you, but you are following God, and he has said differently….
My friends, I’ve identified these two problems — problems I’ve personally observed — because this sets the stage for my next posts, the next parts of this essay.
I want you to know and to understand my side of the story, and it begins and ends with this: Because of my deep love for God, and because of my desire to serve him and to see his plans for my life realized, I’ve done things that many would consider crazy and hurtful to other people. Yes. Anything for love, as the songs says. However, and this is where it gets even harder, God’s plans for my life are far beyond the ordinary and the expected.
You see, by his sovereign will God has decreed that I live an extraordinary life — and that I go through extraordinary challenges — so that I may become an extraordinary man. For him.
(to be continued)
Song lyrics credit: “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”. Written by Jim Steinman. Performed by Meat Loaf.
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This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. — John 17:3 WEB
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