Falling in love

Sam Storms says the “key to holiness is falling in love . . . with Jesus”.

Storms, author and pastor, suggests that the powerful magnet of sin can only be overcome by loving the Lord more.

His book Pleasures Evermore runs counter to much Christian literature today.  He does not propose a five-step program to control feelings and wrestle ourselves into purity.

It’s a view that appeals to me.  More and more, I am returning to contemplating Jesus – who he is and what he has done, particularly on the cross.

I say “returning” because I am often diverted to other things – particularly, concrete ministries or actions that I hope will please God and others.  There is nothing wrong with these things – just my motivation.

It is interesting that when Peter and Jesus had a conversation after the Lord’s resurrection, Jesus did not spend time going over Peter’s denial of him just before he was crucified.  Instead, he asked his disciple: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:15-19)

The Great Commandment says that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37)

So, the question I ask myself is: Do I truly love Jesus?

Fundamentally, I do.  I cannot imagine living without Jesus in my life.

But I have to admit that Jesus does not occupy my thoughts and my passions the way he did when I first put my faith in him.

My faith is more mature than it was more than 57 years ago when I became a believer.  I know much more about God than I did then.  I read the Bible and pray regularly.

Some might say that this is normal for Christians.  But is it right?

It strikes me that the early Christians had a much different faith than mine.  They couldn’t stop talking about Jesus and the crucifixion.  They were enamoured of Christ.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2 that he resolved “to know nothing while I was with you but Jesus Christ and him crucified”.  This fascination with Jesus and the crucifixion was what drove Paul’s ministry.

Storms says that we will only overcome temptation if we are more enamoured with Jesus than we are with the illicit things that promise instant pleasure.

He recommends such activities as fasting; reading and meditating upon scripture passages that speak about God; contemplating God’s works in nature; and feasting on the Lord through worship.

These mean I must consciously invest my time and thought in the Lord.  The payoff is hunger for more of God and joy in his presence.

As I look at the early Christians, I see people who almost spontaneously spread the good news of Jesus because they were so excited about him.

That is the road I want to walk.

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