Learning to Love & Enjoy God (Part 2)

As a review from the previous article; “Learning to Love & Enjoy God”  there is a simple process that I believe best describes the “intentional” effort required to walk in a vital relationship with God. Christians talk about “loving” God, but “loving” God is actually the third step in this process. I believe the problem is that we neglect the first two steps in the process.

This simple, easy to remember process has four steps; Step #1 – Seek God; Step #2 – Know God; Step #3 – Love God; Step #4 – Enjoy God; Then continue repeating the cycle. The more you seek Him, the more you will know Him…. The more you know Him, the more you will love Him…. The more you love Him, the more you will enjoy Him. Enjoying Him makes you want to seek Him more so you can know Him better so you can love Him deeper, so you can enjoy Him more.

Graphic - Seek:Know:Love:Enjoy God

The process works this way: We should first seek God with all our heart (Jer. 29:13; Matt 6:33). Then, as we diligently seek Him we will get to know Him. Then, as we get to know Him we will naturally find ourselves falling deeper and deeper in love with Him. Then, it really gets exciting when we realize that we actually enjoy God.

Jesus said, ”Seek first God, His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added as well.” (Matt. 6:33) Then He would follow a statement like that with a question like “Why do you call me Lord, and not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Foolishly, the average person has the tendency to do it backward by chasing first after so many other things before a personal relationship with Christ. So many folks claim to know Christ, but the way we live and the choices we make seem to place question marks around the subject. We seem to skip over bible verses like 1 John 2:6, which says “Whoever claims to know Christ must walk as Christ did.”

What we chase is clear evidence of where our heart/affection/commitment actually is, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21) God desires that we “seek Him with all of our heart” (Jer. 29:13). “All”, as in completely undivided, with singleness of purpose. Then God’s promise back to those who will seek Him first, with all their heart is, “all of these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

God can handle the details of life. What He wants is us. He does not want to compete for our love and obedience…He won’t “compete”… He is the one and only real God who desires that we have a real life-changing relationship with Him through His real Son, Jesus….He doesn’t “complete” with the thousands of false “gods” we establish in our lives….there is no competition.

As we seek Him, we get to know Him better. The better we know Him and His ways, the more we will fall in love with Him. As we find ourselves falling in love with Him we will realize we truly enjoy Him. Seeking first God is the path to freedom and peace. God offers each of us a personal relationship, forgiveness, hope, and restoration. Begin truly seeking God first today, and see what you have been missing. He will handle all the details.

Learning to Love & Enjoy God

Do you love Jesus? Do you enjoy God? Most people who call themselves followers of Christ do not actually love Jesus. They will say they do of course, but Jesus would say that our struggle with obedience is actually an issue of love. Jesus said it this way; “If you love me, obey my commandments. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them. All who love me will do what I say.” (John 14:15-27)

Graphic - Seek:Know:Love:Enjoy God

There is a simple process that I believe best describes the “intentional” effort required to walk in a vital relationship with God. Christians talk about “loving” God while choosing disobedience and apathy over and over again (I think Jesus would take issue with them…John 14:15-21), but “loving” God is actually the third step in this process. We talk about loving God in the same sentence with loving our homes, trucks, and various kinds of food. I believe the problem is that we neglect the first two steps in the process.

This simple, easy to remember process has four steps; Step #1 – Seek God; Step #2 – Know God; Step #3 – Love God; Step #4 – Enjoy God; Then continue repeating the cycle. The more you seek Him, the more you will know Him…. The more you know Him, the more you will love Him…. The more you love Him, the more you will enjoy Him. Enjoying Him makes you want to seek Him more so you can know Him better so you can love Him deeper, so you can enjoy Him more.

The process works this way: We should first seek God with all our heart (Jer. 29:13; Matt 6:33). Then, as we diligently seek Him we will get to know Him (not merely his deeds, but His ways… not simply facts about Him, but Him!). Then, as we get to know Him we will naturally find ourselves falling deeper and deeper in love with Him based on our knowledge of who He is. Then, it really gets exciting when we realize that we are not only “in love” with God, but that we actually enjoy Him (not just the stuff He does, but Him)!

I use a clock graphic (seen above) to help me understand how the cycle works. So many people want to say the love Christ, yet they don’t actually know him because they never seek him.

Most people love shortcuts! Ever get lost trying that new “shortcut”? We do the same thing with our spiritual development process. We have a tendency to want to “love” God without really “knowing” Him. How can we truly love someone we do not know? How can we “know” God without first “seeking” Him? Though they may want to deny it, the average church go-er talks about loving God, but honestly has little concept of what it means to truly love Him…which is why we struggle so much with issues of obedience, surrender, and life change.

Christ-following really is an issue of love. It is about loving God enough to surrender everything to Him. We should “make ourselves nothing,” and “take on the very nature of a servant”…. Because that is what we are! Press in to know God! Walking with God in a vital relationship is not an accident. It is the product of intentional effort. Is it worth the effort to you?

Who is Capable of Judging Others?

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured to you again. And why do you complain about the splinter in your brother’s eye, but overlook the beam that is in your own eye?” (Matt 7:1-5)

Jesus asked many questions of his followers with the intention of getting them to see the truth. As He preached the Sermon on the Mount He began dealing with judging each other. There are many reasons why we ought not to judge and several of them are contained in this scripture. Judging is and always has been the biggest fault of Christians. We like to judge! The problem is, we are not capable to judge if we are honest.

Normally, the person who judges others does not consider their own condition first. Only those without sin can judge sin. No one should ever judge another for their lying while harboring lust in their own heart. None should consider judging the thief when they themselves are not tithing. The bottom line is this; we are all sinners, and that simple fact disqualifies us as someone else’s judge.

Only God has perfect insight. We are limited by our physical nature and blinded by our sin. We may think we have all the facts necessary to judge, but we don’t. Only God has perfect hindsight. He alone knows why people do what they do. We cannot see into a person’s past and determine the path that led them to their thoughts, emotions, attitudes, decisions, behaviors, motives, etc, but God can. Only God has perfect foresight. He alone knows the potential in a person. If you and I were left to judge, we would seldom consider the eventual outcome of a soul. We would condemn most as un-redeemable and mark them off our lists.

All this is especially alarming when we consider that the way we judge others is the way we will be judged. Whatever standard we hold others to will be the standard God uses to judge us. (read Matt 7:2) If you just can’t help but judge others, I have some good advice; begin with yourself! Judge yourself; you know more about you than anyone else anyway. Be honest now! Scripture says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” (1 Cor 11:31)

By the way, the best news of all is that all of our sin was nailed to the cross. The ultimate Judge of all has provided a way to reconcile you back to Himself by judging your sin on the cross and offering you forgiveness and restoration instead. God did something for us that we could not have done for ourselves; He took all the sin of mankind and placed it on Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our sin, then God judged him, and even rejected him.

Hanging on the cross, Jesus went from calling God “Father”, to saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God judged Jesus so He could reconcile us back to himself so that we could have a personal relationship with the only true judge. You are pardoned by His grace and mercy.