Saturday, May 30, 2009

Remind Me

"I love you daddy." As a father of three wonderful and beautiful young boys, two of whom can freely and openly converse with me, there are no more wonderful words to hear than, "I love you daddy." What is often surprising to me when the two oldest ones say it, is that it comes out of the blue, unexpected, and my internal response is "REALLY???" Thank God I am not yet so cynical that my response is "what do you want" (I hear that comes later in their lives). These terms of affection often come from their mouths at the most strange times though. Not when they have received a gift, or have been taken to eat at one of their favorite places, or when I say "I love you" first. They say it as I am setting my stuff down after getting home from work, when I am doing my Bible or other studies, when I am picking up sticks before mowing the grass, or when I am just sitting down to relax in the evening. It catches me off guard - AND I LOVE IT.

You see, I know my children love me. They show it to me in their obedience (most the time), their sharing their daily life with me in the evening, and their asking me to play basketball, cars, or video games with them. I am certain they know that I love them as well based on the works that Christ leads me to do for them. Still, it feels good to hear it and I strive to verbally remind my kids that I love them as well.

As Christians, we need to be reminded of God's love as well. I fear that we are forgetting that in the church today. You see, there is no greater story of love in history that that of Jesus Christ. It is a story of sacrifice, patience, and kindness, all shown out of love. However, I think that Christians have been lulled to sleep by beginning to believe that this story, the gospel, is really only for non-believers. We believe and this belief is confirmed in scripture, that once the gospel message is delivered, it will reveal Christ's love to the non-believer and has the power to save them. The story of Christ's love saves.

Believers need to hear this all the time as well. We need to hear about Christ's love. We need to be fed the constant reminder that the Bible speaks: "I love you." Are we so naive to believe that once baptized and given the gifts promised through baptism that we are then to begin a life of strict law keeping to show God how much we love Him? To quote John Piper, the Baptist minister, from his 6-minute gospel message: "You will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER, outgrow your need for the gospel." We need to hear Christ saying "I love you."

If you are finding yourself in a congregation where you are not being fed the gospel steadily and truthfully, it may be time to begin asking why. When is the last time you were told from the pulpit that Christ loves you. Are all the lessons you hear law based and you leave telling yourself that you need to do better at that and this but not reminded of the fact that Christ knows/knew we would fall short but loves you anyway? Are you being pointed to your baptism and the love that was shown by allowing you to be washed in the blood of the most precious spotless Lamb of God? Are you being fed the fact that Christ loves you? Jesus loves you!!!! If you are not being fed this steadily, you need to find out why and if you are not given a Biblical response, you may need to find a new church where you can be fed.

Are we led to show our love the Christ? Yes!! Don't forget though that God loved you first. Without His initial love, you would not even have the ability to love Him back. Christ's story of hanging on the cross is the most loud and glorious proclamation to the world that God loves you.

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