Thursday, April 06, 2006

Loving Christ More

You know what, I think I need to start treating this blog more like a blog, and less like a "sermon corner" sometimes. So what we are going to do is to open up the floor for your comments after I ramble on a bit, off the cuff. There will probably be run-on sentences, fragments, and all that other good stuff your english teacher rolls her or his eyes at.

We have been talking a lot about sin and sanctification in recent posts, like "the ongoing struggle", and "the p,q,r, of s", and so forth. I actually have a couple of others about "mortifying sin" and "resurrection power" that I might post, but before that, I want to know what you think about all this.

Not so much in theological terms, but in practical, how-it-all-plays-out terms.

My thought is, after all is said and done, that the reason we keep doing some of the things we really might like not to do, but we find ourselves doing anyway, is that we don't love Jesus enough. Sure, we love Him enough to be "saved", whatever that means, and however much that takes, but we seem to need to love Him more. Yes we love God because He first loved us, and I know that He places the love for Him in our hearts, but I don't want to go off on that rabbit trail right now, so lets not quibble about soteriology, okay, Dr.?

My point is that we love our sin, and that one sin we can't seem to shake, we seem to love that sin more than we love Christ. Not in total, mind you, but we don't love Jesus enough to want to give up the thing we don't want to give up.

So, for me at least, it all seems to boil down to "how can I love Christ more than I do now?"

How can we learn to love Christ more?

(Yes I have ideas, but I want to hear from you first. Be creative if you want to, and okay, be the first to say, read your Bible more, but tell us how you get motivated to do that, don't just give us the ought to, but how YOU get to the want to, get it?)

What say you?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

Uh, read your Bible, silly.

Come on, let's go!

Anonymous said...

Try praying more.

Two for two!

Anonymous said...

I believe loving Him more does occur as a result of both reading and praying more (hint: a Christian with any maturity will say "duh" here). 1John 4:10 says "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The key is to look at His love, since it is preeminent. As Easter is approaching, I was reading and praying concerning the Lamb's Passover preparations for the task before him when the Lord told me "He didn't shave His beard!" He knew what was before Him, that it would be wrenched violently from His face, yet He left it alone. Likewise, He didn't destroy the long, thorny vines along the ground He would trod with the cross; He readily accepted the full measure of the Father's wrath for OUR sins. Honestly, tears well up in my eyes even as I write this, understanding a little more of His preeminent love for me, therby having a greater love for Him.

Anonymous said...

P.S.- IS.50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Even So... said...


Great stuff, indeed. So if I catch you right, what you are saying is that in order for us to learn to love Christ more, we need to understand His sacrifice in more detail. In other words, focus on what He did for us, and this leads us to love Him more.

I would agree. Great big point. Fantastic start.

Now what else can bring about more love for Him?

Anonymous said...

How about Luke 7:41-43?

Understanding the amount we have been forgiven will help us to love Him more.

When we compare the depths of our depravity with the heights of His holiness, then we can see the measure of His love toward us.

Anonymous said...

One way I know that I could show more love for God is to fast more. The word say when we fast...not if we fast. So I guess in that sense, I love food more than doing the will of God. The Bible says that we can make our bodies or appetites our God and when and if we do, we are breaking the first commandment not to have any Gods before Him. I know I need to take and keep control of my flesh in this area. Please pray for me to do as the word love the Lord our God with all my strength.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I was just reading this today: 1Cor. 6:13 "Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will put an end to them both. The body is not for the desires of the flesh, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body." Fasting is not an easy thing for me either, but The Lord did it (for 40 days!- 1 day is a challenge for me), so we should,too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have fasted more than a few times, twice for 3 days and once for 5. Actually, I used to fast every Friday.

To tell the truth I am not sure of what it does in the long haul but it did seem to give me a "boost".

Even So... said...

So, praying, reading the Word, fasting, contemplating the sufferings of Christ, and understanding our own depravity and the depths of God's grace.

What about witnessing? How about some testimonies here; does watching someone grow in the faith cause us to grow closer to Christ?

We are just getting started: there are plenty more things to discuss and to discover!

Of course, feel free to delve further into what has already been said.

Anonymous said...

God wouldn't ask us to fast if there weren't good reasons and benefits. Some of the reasons we should fast are found in Isaiah 58. I think the best reason to fast is to turn off the world and tune in to what God wants to say to us. Knowing how to recognize the voice of God is another way to show our love because we seek fellowship with those we love.

Dan said...

Lets go back to the original questions. How do you get the want to? How do you love Christ more? All the answers here seem to have a prerequisite of already having the want to read the bible, fast, pray etc. What if you know the ought to but can't seem to get the want to. Example: I know I should read the Bible everyday and this will show my love for Christ more.
But I wake up in the morning and I just don't want to read the Bible. How do I get the want to?
Can I get the want to? Or is it something that is given out by the Holy Spirit and there is nothing I can do to get it no matter how hard I try or disciplined I am?
Just trying to open up a new point of view.

Even So... said...

Ye have not because ye ask not...

Even So... said...

Ask and ye shall receive...

Dan said...

Those would require faith. Words without faith is dead. I know I twisted that around a bit but I think it is still accurate. In situations I have seen when your in that state of "not having the want to" it is a lack of faith that God is really who He says he is. If we had the faith to believe that God is who He says He is then we would have the want to. Right?

Even So... said...

It is not your faith so much as God's faithfulness that counts here, Dan, IMHO. God is faithful, but perhaps our unbelief stifles our receivng things, such as wisdom, etc (James 1).

Your faith is not fully developed, neither is mine, nor anybody else's, for that matter.

However, faith can grow, so it may seem like circular thinking, but in order to love Christ more, as you have said, we need more faith, so I guess, if this line of thought is right, then what we need to do is find ways to increase our faith, right?

? Just asking, what are your thoughts, anyone and everyone?

Anonymous said...

This "love" thing has perplexed me for a long time. It seems to me the Christian community (in general) advertises a superficial, distorted view of love.......and until we can "get back to basics" how can we ever understand what you guys are talking about? A love that would actually sacrifice what "I" want.......because you know that "I" am the center of the universe!

Even So... said...

Here are the "basics"

It is the love of Christ that is out model and goal, it is a sacrificial love, a love that is beyond mere friendship, or romance, a love that caused God to pour Himself into a human body, and to sacrifice that body, in order that He might redeem those people who would trust Him to forgive them of their sins.

This love causes us to learn to love one another as well.

"This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other." - 1 John 4:10-11(NLT)

"We love Him because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19 (KJV).

Of course it is hard for you to understand, because "no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." -Romans 5:7-8 (NLT)

Our goal as Christians is to pray that "Christ will be more and more at home in our hearts as we trust in Him, that our roots would go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. That we may have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, long, high, and deep God's love really is. That we may experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it." - Ephesians 3:17-19a (NLT)

The world revolves around God, not the other way around.

In the end, we will either say to God, "Your will be done", or we will say, "My will be done". If you want to begin to understand what true love is all about, not whatever bill of goods you have been sold, or what you have seen advertised by all of the fallen humans here on earth, if you want to go on with God, repent and ask Christ to cleanse you from your sin.

"If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong." - 1 John 1:8-9(NLT)

Even So...

Dan said...

Philippians 1:27 tells us that faith is something that we should strive for side by side with other believers.
So one way our faith can be strengthened is to be involved with others who are also seeking to have more faith. Their faith can strengthen your faith. As your faith can strengthen theirs.
I see this as one way to defeat the how do you get the want to. Just start hanging around the right people. Solution? Is that enough? I don't know. But, it seems to be a good start.

Anonymous said...

I think it is more a need than a want to read the word. I may not particulary want to shower, brush my teeth and comb my hair each day but I need to do these things. It is the same with reading the word first thing each day. I need to do this because it helps maintain my spiritual health just as showering helps maintain my physical body. Think of reading the word as washing the spirit with the water of the word. Maybe this example is too simple, but as even so said in a sermon a few years back...if we can't be faithful in the small can we expect God to trust us with the greater things.

Even So... said...

All of us need to check out what one person whom I have grown to appreciate (Daniel from Doulogos, you can get there from this site) has to say on this subject...

As usual, it will challenge you and cause you, I pray, to fall back into the Everlasting Arms.

Anonymous said...

Just jumped here from Daniel's blog, since you said it sounded so much like yours.
First of all, my mom was an English teacher (before I was born actually, but after I was born, my college letters home were returned red-lined), so your first sentence should read: "...and all that other good stuff at which your English teacher rolls her or his eyes."
Sorry, couldn't resist.
But seriously, I truly believe we can't DO anything to love God more - other than pray that HE will give us that love. We can read the Word, pray, study, engage in fellowship, etc. Do all the right things. Which are all good and need to be done, but we will never be able to DO anything to love Him more and adequately, unless we ask Him to do it for us. I truly believe this with all my heart. When I ask Him, He gives it to me. But it doesn't last forever that way. I need to keep asking Him. Daily. Sometimes more frequently. Always because of my own lack. And He is the source.

Anonymous said...

Even So -
I'm hearing what you guys are saying but here's the deal. When I answered the altar call and "let Jesus into my heart" I thought that was the beginning of better things to come......He loved me and wanted a better life for me....He loved me just the way I was. Well, after much frustration I discovered that I had this sin problem that needed to be dealt with. Like you said, I needed to repent and allow Him to cleanse me. THAT was my beginning....not some emotional altar call. So just like I "wanted to" repent and be cleansed I also "want to" rid myself of myself....minute-by-minute, hourly, daily. But to get started on that track I needed to hear some "straight talk" from people who will talk the "real deal".....not water it down. Like Dan talked about being with others who will help strengthen our faith.... I think one thing that helps with the "want to" is accountability. It's like people with addictions hold one another accountable. So regardless of what sin or problem we have I think it helps to have someone who will hold us accountable---even when it comes to lack of "want to". Maybe that sounds harsh, I don't know. I've been told I'm too "black and white" and I probably do have a problem with that but I figure I've wasted enough time with all this "friendship evangelism"/sloppy grace stuff. I "want to" live each day like it is my last.....and have Him be proud to call me His child. I enjoy reading everyone's comments....I have a notion that ya'll aren't happy with just being OK!

Even So... said...

Welcome aboard everyone!

Thanks anon, much appreciated commentary.

Okay, now for some more thoughts, off the cuff.

I sure hope and pray that we just "go for it" when discussing things in this blog, on this topic.

I for one, except for the occasional time or two, don't want this to be a comments section where we bare our souls, and then someone comes along and throws a platitude at us, as if we were ignorant of the Scripture.

NO ONE IS GUILTY OF THIS SO FAR IMHO. I just don't want it to "go there". If you have two cents, cool, please do share, but don't give all of us the same old same old that we all know, all right? Again, no fouls so far at all, I just want to get real on this deal.

Now, if the people here are, as our last poster said, not happy with being just okay, then lets not pretend, okay?

I figure humility is a big part of the equation, but not loathing ourselves to the point that we give up hope that God will do anything in the here and now about our seriously wanting to kick sin right in the chops. Long sentence, uh oh, here comes the teacher! LOL.

Now here is what I am talking about, don't someone come back and say, after I just talked about humility, don't then go to your concordance and find all the verses and just spit 'em back out...I don't care, in terms of this discussion, how smart you are.

And another example, after I just talked about kicking sin in the chops, don't rush off and tell me that Christ already did it for us, I KNOW, DUDE, chill, and realize that we realize this. What we mean is how do we make this stuff real, consistently, or at least more consistently?

I think we are getting somewhere, but I don't think it all boils down to simply, "let go and let God". The deeper life movements have some merit, but I don't believe for a second that the Keswick model of sanctification is the be all end all.

Even if, as Daniel says, we just need to believe that God will give us victory in Canaan (read his blog, its great), how is that different from "trying" to believe, like he described as the wrong thing in thinking about Romans 6 and being dead to sin?

I have some other ides, and yes, I hope to be leading somewhere, but truly, I know that I still see through a glass darkly, folks.

I do know this... Jesus loves you and me, and He can and will do the job...the sooner the better (yes I know it is finished, okay).

Lets keep it going, shall we?

Even So (Come, Lord Jesus)

Anonymous said...

Even So,
Amen and amen, with respect to humility. And I suspect deep in my heart that it is pride that lies at the root of every problem, every sin, every selfishness of man. And humility would be pride's opposides (God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.)
I'm not just spitting out a verse. I didn't look it up. But it's written on my heart because pride is at the root of me. I think it's all of our main problem with respect to the Lord. And that goes back to time immemmorial. Pride was cause of the fall. Adam and Eve wanted what they were told they couldn't have. And Satan told them they would be 'as God.'
And it returns to my original point. We can't eradicate pride from ourselves. Only God can. And as anon (the most recent anon poster) wrote, it's a daily, hourly battle. BUT the battle belongs to the Lord.
I think anon's experience is common among most if not all Christians, only anon is 'fessing up,' admitting the problem, and facing it head on. Amen! May he (or she) go there in the strength of Christ - not in his/her own strength. For only in our weakness, is Christ made strong in us.
ps - I only meant my English barb as light humor, so please don't think I'll read everything with an editorial eye. I like fragments of thoughts and run-on sentences cuz they express ideas more like we do in speech! Keep 'em comin'! And have a blessed Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Are you OK blogging with the "intellectually challenged" 'cause that would be me? If not, that's offense taken.

Even So... said...

Yep, everything is cool here, thanks Susan. I love lighthearted humor, if I didn't I couldn't take two seconds of centuri0n (another must see, challenging blog).

Anon, it's all good, this post and the comments are for all of us, that is why I asked that we not fall into the habit of discussing soteriology (doctrine of salvation), not on this one, anyway. It would be good to hang around here, 'cause you will be introduced to concepts, words, and phrases that will help you get a grasp on larger issues. Another reason to check out pyromaniacs and other good blogs.

So, stay with us, one and all, and may God be pleased as we celebrate Him this weekend.

Even So...

Dan said...

I had a chance to look at Daniel @ Doulogos's blog again and it is really good. The whole issue on suppressionism is so true. But, looking at the apple vs. orange tree illistration. I'm not sure how to word this but I kind of see it as I was an apple tree but Christ has made me an orange tree.
I can be changed from my original design. Perhaps the ones who can't become orange trees are not "called". (Whole another topic there!)
Praise God I do have the "want to" I do want to love Christ more. I don't have an explanation that is tangible to explain how I got it, but it is there. Other than the obvious that Christ put it there.And it seems to be growing as time progesses. But how do you minister to others in this area? I hope I am making sense. In my mind I know what I am thinking but it doesn't always come out right.

Anonymous said...

Even So,
Ditto on centurion's and Pyromaniacs.
That said, you MUST go check out the quote of the day on Jonathan Moorhead's blog:
Speaks right to the heart of what you're talking about.

Even So... said...

Susan, (and all)

That jmoorhead site is another winner, we are blessed indeed.

As far as the quote, agreed, it is a truth that pride is the problem. I guess when JE wrote "sinners in the hands of an angry God", he must have understood that God was and is most angry about pride, the first sin, the sin of Satan.

Pride has a nasty way of hiding instead of showing up wherever we see manifested disobedience or "outright" sins. I use "outright" in the sense that pride is the root, not cursing, getting high, or whatever, "petty" sins, or even violence, etc. Pride is like "PREGO" (remember the commercial) - its in there.

I have been helped by praying Psalm 19:12-14 - cleanse me from secret faults, keep me back from presumption (oh, me!), etc.

I will be preaching on Luke 24:13-48 this Sunday, and I believe it will intersect with our discussion here. We'll see what the next week has in store for us.

Stay tuned...

Even So...

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying the different comments on this blog. I agree with the pride thing. It causes me to try to justify my anger and self righteous behavior at times. I know I should have control over pride, and when I eventually humble myself and repent, I am overwhelmed by the peace and love God grants me. Wait a minute....I've gotten off the subject...what was it again? How can we learn to love God more than the things we don't want to let go of, things we love more than loving Him? I guess pride counts as one of those things in my life. Yikes! Another thing to overcome as I try to continue to fight the good fight....Thank You Jesus for Your precious mercy and grace but above all your love for me.

ch said...

I think getting to know Him in all ways void of legalism helps us know Him more. Not sinning doesn't help us know Him more...Knowing Him more helps us not sin. Reversing that lends heavy on legalism. You don't sin so...You're actions are based on what you can's selfishly motivated.

It's like any relationship. The more you get to know someone the better you treat them. Not so you can get better treatment in return, but so you don't hurt the person. It's the same with God, I'd imagine. You spend time with Him, in His word, in His creation, around His people and you find yourself changing. You love Him more and as a by product you do less things to hurt that relationship.

Even So... said...

To know Him is to love Him. There is certainly truth in that.

This is what I preached on yesterday as a mattter of fact. We need to know Him more deeply.

What about the old phrase that we hurt the one's we love most? Where might that fit in?

We aren't done with this thread yet, folks. Hope you had a wonderful Resurrection its time to get this thing rolling again, amen.

Even So... said...

Please check out the new post caled "why we obey" over at Doulogos. I'm sure it will help.

Jerry Bouey said...

Several have commented on Philippians 1:27.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Now, I have not looked up passages in the newer versions to see how they render the phrase I have bolded above, so my comments are based on how it is used in the King James Bible (which I am assuming is how it is used generally speaking in other versions - though I may be wrong).

In the Bible, this phrase does not mean getting faith or having faith - as some here are defining it - but rather the NT body of doctrine, those truths foundational to Christianity. For example, Jude 3: contending for the faith. I have kept the faith. continue in the faith. established in the faith. stand fast in the faith. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

There are others, but I just wanted to show that this term was used in a certain way - not just faith in general, but the body of beliefs.

with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

When we stand for the truth together, when we preach and teach the Gospel together, when we serve together, we will be exhorting one another and rekindling the fire of devotion that is in one another's hearts. I agree - a solo Christian often loses the fervency.

It is like that illustration of the man who skipped church because he didn't see a useful purpose for it - and the pastor came and visited him. He was at a loss for words as to how to exhort this believer, until a coal fell out of the fire and started to die out - until it was put back in with the other brightly burning coals. One our own the fire will dim and burn out - together (with likeminded believers) the fire is quickened.

Even So... said...

Jerry, correct, THE FAITH is the body of doctrine, FAITHFULNESS to that faith and to whom, Jesus, that faith is placed in, are two separate, but linked things.

Good illustration.