Life and That More Abundantly — Part 4
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Giving to us in overflowing extravagant dimensions
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38
This may seem to the intellectual mind a wasteful and needless extravagance. The water pitcher poured until the glass is
overflowing, just wastes water. By any measure of human economy alone that is true. But to God it is just the way of His love for us. There is always more than enough for us, and an overflowing supply to share with others.
If we are to be like Him we must embrace this most fundamental characteristic of His nature.
In our previous study I touched briefly on the degree to which we value worship. I’d like to expand on that as we begin this next part of our study. What we bring to God in our expressions of praise and worship says much about the measure of our love for God
Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love God.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30
Simply put, “with all” means “with all,” and excluding nothing. Love of God is not to be split between several gods or between God and other things. It is all or it’s not at all. So, with all your heart means you are not divided in your allegiance and loyalty. You have one God and one alone and no other to any degree. God is the first and final authority in and over your life.
With all your heart also means with all your fervor and passion, your zeal, the deepest yearning of your inmost being at your gut level. That is with all your heart. A measure of all of your heart is, how far are you willing to go to worship God? How much are you willing to surrender to worship God? What are you will to sacrifice to worship God?
With all your soul means everything that makes up who you are at your core, your emotions, your passions, your feelings, your personality, your temperament, your motivations, your unique human identity and style.
With all your mind means all your thoughts all your words, all your imaginations, your reasonings, your creativity, your utterances, verbal and non verbal born of spontaneous or well-considered thoughts, and all your intellect, your intelligence, your wit, your smarts, whatever you call it, God commands that all of it be employed in loving Him.
With all your strength means all the capacity for energy and life that you possess physically, mentally, including character and moral purpose, all the energy you use for whatever purpose to which you are called, whether in labor or leisure, in building and constructing things, places and systems, art and artifacts, in invention and in whatever you do by means of your physical powers.
And we express our love to God in all of these, heart, soul, mind and strength through worship.
We are to worship God to the degree that we love Him. Both are commandments. We don’t have a choice in the matter. We do have a choice, but the consequences of the wrong choice are devastating and eternal. And it’s not because God doesn’t love us. It’s because by not loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength we leave ourselves vulnerable to the deceiver who comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy.
“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:6-8
Worship goes hand in hand with love because what we love we worship. Jesus poses the question in several ways to every believer.
First he states the condition. If you love me… IN other words if you say you are a believer, a Christian and Jesus is Lord of your life then…
“If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15
Show your love by what you do.
And if you do not love God you will not keep His commandments. Pronouncements of faith and fidelity to Him to the contrary are hollow and meaningless if they do not manifest themselves in obedience to His Word.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
These passages of Scripture would indict us all and leave none worthy of God’s love if not understood in context. Jesus is teaching here that lip service of worship and love of God is not acceptable on any level. It is at best an outward show for the sake of men or at worst a mockery of the Glory of God manifested in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
No. God is not expecting any of us to so closely tow the line that we never miss the mark or that we never fail to do everything that He asks of us. He knows that we are only dust. He knows that we are only clay pots. He is not holding us accountable for what we don’t know nor for what we have not yet matured into understanding.
But, there comes a time in the life of every believer when we must choose Who we will serve, God, the world or ourselves? Once we make the choice for God, then He comes along side and takes up residence in us by the Holy Spirit in us to bring us step by step into the fullness of the stature of Christ and He ministers His truth to us in the process of bringing us to the place where we do keep His commandments fully because we love Him.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16
Finally, the love we are commanded to have for God is above all other love that we may have for anyone or anything else. God exclusively deserves the highest measure of our love that no other has a claim to nor should they be the focus. The measure to which we naturally love and cherish those in our human relationships, (mothers, fathers, husbands wives, children, brother and sister, friends and neighbors) should pale by comparison to our love of God.
This maybe hard to fathom, but it is God’s expectation of us ultimately.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37
We’ll pursue this further.