Continued from here.
The bottom line is that God is seeking people who love Him with all of their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. To love God more means to love everything and everyone else less. Do I love God enough to obey Him, even when it costs me money, time, and inconvenience? Is my love for Him stronger than my love for others who find themselves slammed by spiritual attack simply because I love them? Will I continue obeying God when I see no harvest from all of the seeds I have labored to plant in obedience to His leading? Only when I can truly say YES to these questions have I become a disciple of Christ.
This is not an easy lesson to learn, and it sure isn’t popular. People are willing to flock to the God who showers blessings on them, but how many stay when those blessings are removed? And if I am only willing to follow God when he blesses me, do I really love Him? Or do I simply love what He can do for me?
One of the secrets I have learned along my spiritual journey is that God IS the blessing. He has promised never to leave or forsake me, so even when I see no tangible benefits to my obedience, I always have the blessing of His presence. That’s never going to leave. No matter how stormy the seas become, I can rest in the presence of a God who loves me. Learning how to do this is the key to Christian discipleship.
I don’t like this lesson any more than you do. I’m selfish by nature, and I very much prefer feeling comfortable to being a martyr. I love having mountaintop experiences that proclaim the glory of God. I’m not so wild about the times in the valley when I must suffer. And yet, that’s how Jesus lived, as a man of suffering. Why do I insist upon an easy life when the one I follow was and is a man of suffering? I still have much to learn about denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Jesus.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace carrying a huge heart that says, “I love you more.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]