I don’t believe love is just doing the right thing. I don’t believe love is just keeping commandments. I don’t believe love is just being patient and kind and all those other attributes 1 Corinthians 13 lists for us. That is what love looks like when it walks and talks. But that’s not love – that’s the fruit of love, the result of love, the evidence of love. I believe at the heart of love we always find a passion for God.
Do you desire God? Do you long for God? Yes, we all go through times in which our hearts are dull. We go through times when we need to be encouraged. We all go through times when our eyes are distracted by things they should not be. But if someone were to look at your life over the long haul, I wonder if they would say that your deepest passion is not for ministry, not for missions, not for evangelism, but for God.
The sign of a genuine work of God in the heart is that you begin to hate the sin you once loved and you begin to love the righteousness you once ignored. I am not asking if you agree with that or if you are challenged by that. I am asking is that a reality in your life? Are you continuing to grow in your hatred of sin and your love for righteousness? Are you being drawn deeper into the presence of God each day or not? It’s not a question of doing the right thing or wanting to be moral or wanting to have a good life. The most important question is: do you desire God?
I really hate preaching that goes something like this:
‘You’ve got a wonderful life there brother or sister. You are happy. You have a really nice house and a really nice job. You have a wonderful spouse and children. You’ve got two cars, three computers and four televisions … you’ve got a great life and everything fits perfectly in place. You just lack one thing. You lack Jesus.’
That is the most disgusting thing you could ever say to another human being. What would be more appropriate to say is this:
‘Brother or sister, your life is nothing. It has no value at all apart from Jesus Christ.
That’s what speaking the truth in love looks like. You may upset some people. You may lose some friends. You may be accused of being confrontational. So what? The truth is always confrontational – but it happens to be the only thing that will set people free. We need to speak the truth. Jesus is not some accessory in your life; He is not the cherry on the top of your ice cream. Either you have Jesus and Jesus has you – or you are barren, wasted and lost. I am not asking, ‘Do you want a better life?’ Or ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’ or ‘Do you want to fix your marriage?’ I have only one question: Do you desire God above everything else in your life?’ I don’t care how blessed your life might be in this earthly kingdom. I want to know what has God done in your heart? Do you desire God?
We are not called to lead people to the Church. We are not called to lead people to a better lifestyle. We are not called to offer people a self-help program so they can be better human beings. We are called to lead people to God and the most powerful and effective way to lead people to God is to let them see your own passion for God. Let them see your desire for God above everything else that can be said about you. That is attractive. That is powerful. That is what will resonate with the image of God within every human being. So do you desire God? I will let A.W. Tozer have the last word here:
“I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with the Church … I want all that God has or I don’t want any.”
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”