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)
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?