Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Did Love Become Unconsuming?

In borrowing a lyric from the Sidewalk Prophets, I wanted to share with you a topic that's been on my heart lately.  When did love become unconsuming?  I'm sure you've heard people groaning about those who post endlessly about Christ on social media.  I certainly have, likely because I am one of those who endlessly posts about Christ on social media.  My Facebook, my Twitter, my blog...  I glorify Jesus all the time, and all the time, I glorify Jesus.

I'm not too worried about unbelievers who groan.  That is to be expected.  But since when has it become okay for believers to groan at the Word of the Lord?  I have noticed a few people who profess Christ on the one hand are jaded when it comes to glorifying Him outwardly.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, it's almost a "keep it to yourself" mentality.

Is there even such a thing as "too much Jesus" for a Christian?  Is that even possible?  My short answer is no.  Let's lay aside social media for a moment and talk about lifestyle.  Does Jesus mean everything to you, or is He just an accessory to your life, like the fish on your car?  Is He the center of your life or the cherry on top?

Many Christians would say, "Oh, He's the center, absolutely."  But their lives don't reflect this.  They're like people who look at their face in a mirror but when they walk away, they forget what they look like (James 1:23-24).  For all God has done for the sinner, He became flesh, lived a perfect life, taught us how to follow Him, died for our sins, conquered death, rose again and ascended back to Glory, is our contribution to His epic, awe-inspiring Love to merely say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian", or is it to live like one?

Do you not know that the true Christian is born again (John 3:3)?  He has new desires, new longings.  His gaze is now heavenward, not worldward.  He lives and breathes for Christ, his life revolves around Him, and it's obvious to one and all.  This isn't lip service.  This is true service.  Where is our zeal for the things of Christ, brethren?  Look around you.  The Church has lost her zeal.  Read the book of Acts and ask yourself if the Church of the 21st century looks anything like the Church of the 1st century.  Why not?

I read a LOT of books.  Some of my favorites are the Puritans of old, as well as a few preachers from the 19th century.  Their view of God was so high, it's like climbing Mt. Everest just to witness the same view.  These men had a singular focus, a song in their hearts, and an all-consuming love for Christ.  Men like Edwards, Brooks, Whitefield, Watts, and Watson.  Owen, Sibbes, Baxter, Goodwin, Brainerd, and McCheyne.  Spurgeon, Ryle, Moody, and Lloyd-Jones.

Where are folks such as these in today's pulpit?  What makes these men stand out when compared to our own preachers?  They were stoic men of prayer, devoted to studying the Bible, committed to the cause of Christ.  One doesn't have to be a pastor in order to have such zeal for the Living God.  Where is the congregation's zeal?  Why are people content to hear a message and go on their merry way as if this life is all there is?

Examine yourself and ask the question, "Does my life glorify God?"

"That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference: God, in His Word, greatly insists upon it, that we be in good earnest, 'fervent in spirit', and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion."  Romans 12:11, Deuteronomy 6:4-5
~~Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

Examine yourself and ask the question, "Does the love of Christ ignite my passion for Him?"

"Christ's love in us, is as the loadstone to the iron.  Our hearts are heavy and downwards of themselves.  We may especially know His love by this, that it draws us upwards, and makes us heavenly minded.  It makes us desire further and further communion with Him.  Still there is a magnetical attractive force in Christ's love.  Wheresoever it is, it draws the hearts and affections after it." 
~~Richard Sibbes, The Love of Christ

If not, why not?

Do you find Jesus boring?  Then you don't know Him.
Do you find His Word dull?  Then it is not manna to you.
Do you find those who love Christ with their heart and soul annoying?  They are not your brethren.
Do you think there's a time for Jesus, just as there's a time for chores, for work, and for play?  Then you are not fit for the Kingdom of God. 

Hard words, I know.  But I am hard-pressed to call nominal Christians "Christians" at all.  If you're not all in with your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then why are you "in" at all?  Christ said He will one day spew the lukewarm out of His mouth in disgust (Revelation 3:16).  This assumes those who are "lukewarm" aren't truly Christians at all, because Christ loses NONE of His sheep (John 6:37, John 10:14).

 "There is within each of us a terrible tendency to become neglectful, indifferent, and lukewarm towards the Lord Jesus Christ.  This common, sinful tendency of our nature must be marked, acknowledged, and avoided." 
~~Don Fortner, Discovering Christ in the Song of Solomon

So let me ask you again.  When did love become unconsuming?  Has your love for Jesus grown cold?  Redeem the time and stoke those embers while He may be found.  Ask the Lord to breathe upon you and ignite that fire again.  Don't be the one to hear the Lord say that you've abandoned your First Love (Revelation 2:4)  Rededicate your life to Him and seek the Lord Jesus Christ.  Follow in the tracks of the flock and pasture yourself beside the tents of His shepherds (Songs 1:8).  Go back to the rock from which you were hewn (Isaiah 51:1) and drink deeply from the wells of those who have gone before you. 

In Jesus' name.


1 comment:

  1. "What fruit is there of actual likeness to God in you? Do you love to be much with God, to climb up near to God, to love and long and plead and wrestle and stretch after Him? Are you weaned from the world, from its praise, from the hatred, from the scorn? Do you give yourselves clean away to God, and all that is yours? Are you willing that your will should be lost in His great will? Do you throw yourself into the arms of God for time and eternity? Oh, search your hearts and try them! Ask God to do it for you, and to 'lead you in the way everlasting.'"

    ~~Robert Murray McCheyne