Summary: In this message, part-5 to the series Love Without Limits, Dave explains how we come to live in the love of God.
Take What’s Yours
Love Without Limits, prt. 5
Wildwind Community Church
January 31, 2010
I am a pastor, a counselor, and a university professor. In other words, I answer questions for a living. As you might imagine, in my role as a pastor, I am constantly hearing questions about God. There are the hundred or so questions I’ve been asked that follow the form, “Is thus and such a sin?” or “Will I go to hell for this or that?” Then there are the questions about beginnings. Was the world created in 6 24-hour days? Do you believe in evolution? What do you think happened to the dinosaurs? Then there are the questions about the end: Can you explain Revelation to me? Are we in the end times, the last days? Is the Mark of the Beast literal or metaphorical? Who do you think the antichrist will be and is he/she already on earth? If someone held a gun to your head and dared you to confess your faith in Christ, would you do it? What did the death of Jesus on the Cross mean and what did it accomplish? How could Jesus be both God and man at the same time? How come I don’t feel anything when I come to church? How much sin sends a person to hell? How do I know I still have my salvation? Is Christianity the only way to God? (Answer – No. Christ is.)
I’ll stop now. I haven’t scratched the surface, but I’ll stop. Some of those are pretty deep questions, aren’t they? If I could give crystal clear answers to every single one of those questions, at the end you would have more information jangling around in your head – but you would not be closer to God because of the answers. And I’m not saying all the answers are unimportant. What I’m saying (and I’ve said it before) is that we live under the impression that the key to unlocking a deeper relationship with God lies in whatever we currently do not know. I will relate better to God if only I understand x, y, and z. By the way, there’s another equally dangerous and false idea we live under, which is that the key to our relationship with God lies in what we DO know. We’re in a series right now about God’s love and today I want to tell you how to receive and live in that love, but first I think it’s really important to help you understand what is NOT going to help, what you DO NOT need, so that as we seek, we seek after the right things. Let me illustrate for you how your relationship with God does not depend on how much or how little you know about him. To do this, I need to get you thinking about your relationship with your own children. For those of you who do not have children, I need you to turn on your imagination – the best way to think about how God relates to us is to think about how we relate to our own children.
Does your closeness to your children depend on how much they know about you? When you think about it, your children actually know very little about you. If you have little ones, they know virtually nothing about you. As they get older, they’ll tell you they can’t even imagine what your life was like before they were born. For me that means my oldest cannot comprehend 25 years of my life. My youngest cannot comprehend 28 years of my life. Now I’ve told them stories, they’ve heard a tale or two, and I hope that has helped them know me better. But our relationship is not determined by how much they know about me. Our girls knowing any of that stuff simply makes no difference whatsoever to our love and care for them.
Realize, parents, that vast portions of your life are unknown to your children and that in no way affects your relationship to them. Far more important than them knowing you is the fact that they are known by you. That is what actually creates that relationship. They were created by your initiative. They were birthed into your life, by your choice (most of the time!), and you prepared your heart and home for them. You rearranged your life to accommodate them, not just for a day or two, but forever. You permanently gave up the freedoms that come with not being a parent, and freely took on the perpetual servitude that is parenthood. You tend to them, give them what they need, withhold from them what is harmful, anticipate their fears and concerns and try to intervene. You support them, encourage them, pray for them, worry over them, you even think of them on those weekends where you’ve chosen with your spouse to get away from them. You literally lose sleep over them. That is what makes you a parent. You are transformed by that love as you give it, and the love that transforms you is the same love that forms them. The love of your child for you is, and can only be, a response to your love for him or her. You loved first. You almost literally loved your child into existence. And as a parent, you always love first. That is your job, your burden, and your blessing. The main text of last week’s message was: