“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).
Almost two months ago I wrote an article entitled “Loving Jesus More Than Life” (September 28, 2020). This is a follow up to that piece and addresses the trap that is easy for Christians to fall into of loving “good spiritual” things above Jesus.
Now you may be asking, what do I mean when I say loving good spiritual things is a trap to be avoided? A few examples would be, a preacher who loves preaching more than they do Jesus, a Christian who loves their denomination, doctrines, and/or ministry more than Christ, and a believer loving good works/deeds above Jesus. What each of these examples shares in common is that the individuals love doing what they are doing more than Jesus. Their satisfaction is in their works.
Think about it! We frequently hear of people proclaiming their theological positions louder than they do Christ. Others consistently preach about their accomplishments thus effectively removing Christ from the centre of the message replacing Him with shallow sermons about self-actualisation. Now we have believers claiming to follow Jesus and all they really want is what they believe He can do for them. Oh! Too frequently we hear Christians inviting people to “my church” or “our church” and Jesus is found nowhere in their invitation. The hook normally is, “Our pastor is the coolest” or “our praise and worship is lit” and I have no clue what that means.
Today Christians are quick to speak about experiences and feelings, “If you follow Jesus, He will do this for you… come to God and you will experience His power… in our church you will feel the presence of God…” The experience and feeling is what we love and follow more fervently than Christ. In Africa it is not uncommon to hear of people going to mountains to pray for days on end in the name of seeking God. Unfortunately many have been driven by desperation and/or delusion and are really seeking what they want from God and not God. Why do many believe Jesus is not enough?
We love God because He first loved us. That is what the Scripture says. It lays bare the reason for our love and the object of our love. What the text is not saying is that we love God with the same degree of purity, intensity, and perfection of love that He has loved us with. In our imperfect human state, it is not possible that our love for God would be perfect. But because of God’s grace, He enables us to love Him and grow in our love towards Him. When we say we love God, it means that He and He alone is the One who our affections, mind, and whole being prizes above ministry, denomination, and experiences. When we love these above God we contradict the Bible and defy what it means to love Jesus. How easy it is for us to love ministry, denominations, ministries, doctrinal debates, theological positions, and hanging out with other believers more than we love Jesus.
In Colossians 3:1, we are invited to, “…seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God…” Another way of articulating it is to say, love Jesus more than everything.
– Kennedy Mpezeni