“I would just die for some ice cream!” Well…not actually die. If I died, I couldn’t even eat it, right? But you’ve probably heard people say things much like that, and such exaggerations communicate a fundamental truth: we will sacrifice for our true love(s). In fact, God’s Word tells us that self-sacrifice is the clearest indication of love. (Genesis 34:1-19, Psalm 127:1-2, Luke 12:13-21, John 15:13, etc.)
In CW 104, we looked at our hearts as the source of our love(s) and noted that everything we cherish should reflect our primary devotion to God. That’s what it means to love Him with all of our heart. This week we consider the extent of our love: that we are to adore Him even if it costs us everything.
In the video, we’ll see that God’s Word associates our soul with life or death: adoring and pursuing God by trusting in Jesus results in eternal life, and anything less results in eternal death. How? Well, let’s prepare for the video by considering three loves for which we sacrifice: people, power, and pleasure. Loving in these areas is a reflection of being created in God’s image, but our sinful human nature distorts them, too. For each of these (and thus our satisfaction) is ultimately in Him alone.
People – God created other people as our primary venue to express and experience love. Yes, Jesus clearly said that our love for God is to be primary, not love for other people. But how we love is necessary for both. Remember, God is one in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If we’re to be whole, we must give and receive love as He does – among peers. That’s why He said it was not good for Adam to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) But sin distorts what He designed for our delight in Him. Without God’s transforming grace in our lives, we either idolize others (1 Samuel 8:4-6, Psalm 118:8-9, Proverbs 5:1-14) or lord over them instead of care for them (see 1 & 2 Kings, Mark 10:45).
Power – Relationships are where we see the extent of our love(s), and power is how we love to the extent of our life or death. If we don’t primarily love Christ, we will invest our time, money, and energy to pursue fools’ gold. (Isaiah 55:1-2, Matthew 6:19-21) and use the authority He has given us to build our own kingdoms (Genesis 11:1-4, Daniel 4:28-33, Matthew 23:1-12). Because God blesses with His power only those who love Christ. (Luke 16:19-31, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Pleasure – So, our relationships are the arena of our loves; our resources are the tools for our loves; and our joy is the goal of our loves. God is all about delight. That’s why He created and described each day as “good” in Genesis 1, and the greatest gift He can give us is Himself, specifically His Son, Jesus, who is the perfect human relationship and the loving Son of God, too. (John 17) Yet, our sinful nature seeks pleasure in pleasure rather than pleasure in God. (2 Timothy 3:1-6, Galatians 5:16-26)
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