In looking at what it means to love the Lord, I think it helps to remember why we fell in love with God in the first place. In the New Testament it says, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). I have found when I begin feeling complacent or at a standstill in my faith, revisiting the place where it all began and recalling the moment where my faith clicked, helps me refocus on what is truly important. No matter how washed up or spiritually dry you may be feeling, I pray that God’s incredible love for each one of us and Jesus’ overwhelming sacrifice will refresh our hearts time and time again.
If you’re like me, when life starts coming at you from a thousand different directions it’s easy to lose sight of why we fell in love with God and how our story began. This week, as we reflect on the greatest love story that has ever been written, let’s remember our story and allow it to awaken our hearts.
I was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home, where we got lollipops for memorizing Bible verses, went to church every Sunday, and had a rather extensive collection of singing Christian videos where children and puppets would sing together about how great God was. Anyone out there remember “Psalty the Singing Song Book”? If not, you definitely missed out. It was the strangest phenomenon you can imagine: He was a big blue hymnal who would hang out with the children in his church and sing songs about God. For whatever reason, I was captivated by him. Where do they come up with this stuff?
At the age of twelve, my parents sent me to a Christian sports camp in Missouri. It was there that the Gospel was presented to me in a very real and tangible way. One night they had something they called “Cross Talk,” where they reenacted Jesus’ death on the cross and went through the pain and suffering that he bared. I remember sitting outside on the tennis courts witnessing a real life portrayal of Jesus’ persecution and death. When it was over I was moved by the incredible sacrifice that Christ paid not only for the world, but specifically for me. As an awkward, insecure middle schooler, that night I came face to face with the reality that not only did God love everyone else, but He loved me as well. I always knew that “God so loved the world,” but somewhere along the line, I missed the idea that He loved me, too!
Outside, there was a full moon and an incredibly starry sky. Looking up at the sky, there were thousands and thousand of stars. I began to look at those stars and think about how the God of the Universe, who formed each one of those stars by hand, loved me enough that He would sacrifice His only Son so that I could live eternally with Him. I started crying because it was the first time that I was fully aware of God’s immense, unconditional love for me, even though I did nothing to deserve it.
That night, my faith became my own. I admitted that I was a sinner, I declared that Jesus was Lord, and I began trying to live my life in pursuit of Christ. That was where my story began.
I think for anyone, no matter what your background is, there comes a point where you have to choose to follow Christ and make your relationship with Him your own. Your story is unique, special, and solely yours. If you’re having a hard time recalling your story, think back to the first time where God’s love for you “clicked” and you decided to follow Christ. Your “aha moment” where even if you could already recite the Bible backwards and forwards for twenty years before, on this particular moment, your faith became real and personal to you and you began walking confidently in your newly acquired confidence in God’s immense love for you and the grace that His Gospel provides. Some of you might not have one specific instance, but through a series of events can see how God led you into a relationship with Him. Whatever your story may be, remember it today and praise God that He loved you so much, he sent His Son to die, so we could live eternally with Him.
If your story has yet to begin, I encourage you to find a Bible or go here and read chapters 27 and 28 of Matthew to find out more about the incredible price Christ paid for you, because He loves you–not just the world, but you!
And because I love you THIS much, for those of you who weren’t fortunate to grow up with Psalty the Singing Song Book, here’s a little musical snack for you. (It doesn’t get really good until about 1:09. E-mail subscribers, click here and scroll to the bottom of the post.)