“To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid “big” sins – is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?” (Francois Fénelon)
That is what is seems being a “Christian” means these days and also it seems for hating more than loving. Isn’t it sad that today followers of Jesus (Who said “love your enemies…and do good to those who persecute you”) are known more for what we do not like (and whom we do not love) than being known for radical, deep unconditional love and service?
It’s sad, but true.
In the Gospel accounts, we read that ‘sinners’ loved being around Jesus: they followed Him, hung on His every word, sought Him out no matter the cost. Sinners ate with Jesus, were healed by Jesus, were taught by Jesus…and He loved them deeply.
However, today when I survey the Christian churches today (mostly evangelical and charismatic fellowships), I find it rare that ‘sinners’ like to hang out with us followers of Jesus. And it is precisely because we are so judgmental, more worried about dogma than the Law of Love and Spirit, more concerned with ‘rightness’ than Righteousness (which has more to do with being in “right relation to/right relationship with” others than in being right).
Why are we more known for the pettiness of our fears and judgments rather than for the greatness of our love for our neighbors and enemies?
That, my friends, is what I call insane; that we who follow Jesus, the Lord of Love, are known more for our lack of love (even to our fellow believers in the holy huddle) than for our passionate love and service. It breaks my heart…for I am guilty of this far too often.
We speak of believing in Jesus but belief is not what God is looking for. For in our ‘belief’ we can still justify our lack of love and service to a broken, impoverished world. God is looking for faith and faith in action at that (read Matthew 25, Luke 4:18; James 2:14-26 to name but a few). Even the Scriptures say the demons believe in God, and they do well to do so. In fact, it seems to be quite chic to “believe” in God these days, but it is not so much ‘in fashion’ to be crazy in love with Jesus.
Just go watch the Super Bowl or the World Cup or the Oscars or Grammys…everyone, and I do mean everyone, seems to always thank God for their victory or for their fans and awards. Just once, I’d like to hear someone from the losing side look straight into the camera and say, “I’d like to thank and praise Jesus for this loss today, for it taught me about humility, poverty, and forgiving my enemies.” Seriously. I am really looking for some athlete or actress to say such a thing.
It is chic and trendy to ‘believe’ in God. But what about being in love with God? And I mean passionately, crazy, insanely in love with Jesus? And even our being crazy in love with God is in truth a mere response. We love God because God first loved us. We are merely responding to a prevenient call from Jesus saying, “I love you. I love you more than (my) life…I love you deeply. And I want to be with you, learn about you and show you exactly Who I am.”
That is the insane love that God sends to us. And that is the kind of insane love Jesus gives and wants us to give back to Him.
God’s love is nothing like we have experienced before. The love God desires to give us pales in comparison to the best ideas and ideals of love we could ever dream up (and I’m not talking Joel Osteen or Harlequin Romance kind of love here).
God’s love is, well to be frank, INSANE. God’s love is insane compared to what we call ‘love.’ And just so we are on the same page, here are some definitions and synonyms for insane: “not of sound mind; demented; lunatic; crazy; maniacal; foolish; irrational; mad.” That sounds about right when it comes to the way Jesus loved and loves us.
God’s lavishes love on us in irrational, foolish ways. And based sometimes on my opinions, I feel God lavishes divine love on those who do not deserve it, have not earned it, and are downright knuckleheads. That’s insane love! But God does not care what I think when it comes to whom He loves. And the same is true for us. God does not care if you think you are deserving of His love; get over it because you and I are definitely not deserving of God’s love.
That’s what makes the love of Jesus so insane: He loves us anyway. And God loves us faithfully, eternally, and divinely. I wish I could boast that I love like that. But I don’t. I can say I have tasted of such love from God, no doubt, but the Spirit is still doing a (God) Work in my heart that is for sure.
So, let us stop the insanity of not loving and start asking God to overflow and overfill us with His insanely divine love and then be so bold as to share God’s insane love with any and all (but especially the most neglected, the most vulnerable, the most despised).
So, what do you say?
Let’s start gettin’ insane!
P.S. This is a paraphrased combination of 1 Corinthians13 and 1 John 4:8 where every time ‘love’ is used I replaced it with Jesus.
“Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus is not jealous, Jesus is not pompous. Jesus is not inflated, is not rude, Jesus does not seek His own interests, Jesus is not quick-tempered, Jesus does not brood over injury, Jesus does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…Jesus never fails.