I am Loved

I took the stage at the Summit on Friday night
with a fist in my stomach. Fingers locked, a stone tightly held.
I don’t really know what came over me, but once I started,
it all sort of spilled out of my mouth all at once, and I couldn’t seem to stop.
“stop thinking about what you need to do for God,
and start thinking on what Christ has done for you.”
It sort of bubbled out like a river of frustration and hope,
wanting so desperately for people to be free from willing themselves to change.

“it no longer depends on man’s will or effort, but on God who shows mercy.”

The theme of the event was “Irresistible people.”
Indeed.
I admit, I want to be exactly that.
A part of a revolution, that loves God, that loves people.
So much so, the world will see us and come running.
However, what hope do we have to become an irresistible people?
One speaker implored with the crowd,
“we need to love people, we need to love God!”
I completely agree, but tell me, somebody please, tell me….HOW?

No one seeks God.
No one understands.
No one is righteous.
So how do you expect me to change myself
in order to obey the greatest commandments?

By will power?
By dedication?
By guilt tactics?

Hmmm, sounds like self-help to me.
Perfect instruments to build an empire of pride.
Love God. Love people. Do it.
You can’t do it, but do it.
And when you succeed, once you become a better you,
make sure you give yourself a big pat on the back,
a big smile in the mirror, and all the while, make sure you
look down on everyone who still struggles with your old temptations.

So the question remains.
How does one love God?
Well, John says, “we love because He first loved us.”
And if that’s true, then my whole approach must change.
No longer am I condemning myself in the mirror,
saying, “come on Mike, get your act together.”
No. Instead I simply incline my gaze to the cross.
If I’m not loving God, it’s because I’m not believing I’m loved.
And how do I know that I am loved?
“This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life…”

This is why I get frustrated.
We point out the problem, but fail to give the solution.
Like my pastor in Nashville says,
“don’t show me a church that loves God,
show me a church that believes they are loved,
and I will show you a church that God uses.”
I hope this is making sense.
“What is the work of God? to believe in the one he has sent.”
Oh that would be offensive enough to believe we are loved.
Go ahead, try it. But please, for the love of God, remember that
it’s only by his grace that you can.

“I worked harder among you than any of you, yet it was not I,
but the grace of God in me.”
-mike