DayBreaks for 12/04/19: If Jesus Were Not There
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE Lord YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38 (NASB)
If you have been a Christian for even a short time, chances are you know this verse well. It is, I suppose, the single greatest thing that we are to try to do with our life: learn to love God desperately.
Can you remember when you were first falling in love with someone? I do. I can never forget the sickness in my stomach and heart at parting from my beloved wife-to-be. I literally ached inside my chest when I saw her turn her back to go into her home at night, or when she left me to get in her car to drive back to her college. It was hard to breathe, hard to want to do anything except see her again. We’d write letters nearly every day, we’d call and talk on the phone nearly every day. (I never asked my folks about how much the phone bill was, even though our calls were long distance – and to their great credit, they never mentioned it to me, either!) Love hurts. But what a wonderful hurting it is!
Jesus statement takes on a new dimension when I think about it compared to the love of my life and how we were when we were falling in love. In Christian circles we are expected to say, “I love Jesus!” – and we should love him, no doubt. But while it is one thing to say it, it is another thing entirely to really love Him. The author, John Piper, in God is the Gospel, confronts us and challenges us to think about whether or not we are truly in love with God. If you are squeamish, you may not want to read what he had to say: “The critical question for our generation – and for every generation- is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”
Worth pondering, don’t you think? I’m not sure how I would answer that question at times. All of the things that Piper said are things we all love and long for. It’s harder to love someone you’ve never seen. It’s hard to love someone who lived 2000 years ago. Admire them? Yes. Want to emulate them? Certainly. But love them?
I want to be able to say that heaven will be nothing, that all those things we could have as Piper described them, would not be nearly enough if Christ was not there. The point is: Christ is what makes heaven worthwhile. It won’t be all those other things. Sure, they’ll be great, but they won’t even qualify as icing on the cake.
May we learn to love Jesus more than all other things that we might love combined.
PRAYER: Jesus, we aren’t omniscient like you. You see us – but we’ve never set eyes upon you. It is hard to love someone from afar. Help us to draw close to you, to love you more than anything and everything else for you will be our greatest joy in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>