Summary: God does not seek fulfillment at your expense; God seeks your salvation and completion at His expense.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE NEEDY GOD**
Big Idea: God does not seek fulfillment at your expense; God seeks your salvation and welfare at His expense.
A few weeks back we began looking at 1 Corinthians 13 from a bit of a unique perspective. I have suggested to you that the world’s understanding of love is often in conflict with this picture of God’s love and, that sadly, Christians have been subtly deceived into adopting the world’s definition of love over God’s. As a result, our acts of love are skewed and the image we hold of God (since God is love) is also skewed.
We have looked at misunderstandings of God that a misunderstanding of love will produce. I have tried not to be intentionally provocative yet I have tried to show you that probably all of us are guilty in one way or another of misunderstanding God because our understanding of love is faulty. So far we have looked at:
• The Hair Trigger God (it fails to understand that love is patient and kind)
• The “It’s All About Me” God (it fails to understand that love does not envy)
• The Rock-Star God (it fails to understand that love is not boastful and pride)
Listen as I read 1 Corinthians 13:1-5 to you this morning:
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love … 5 is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
Can you say it with me?
Love … is not rude, it is not self-seeking
Have you ever been around a “clingy” person? Maybe it was a boyfriend or girlfriend or just a friend. It might have even been a parent or a sibling.
At first the neediness seemed endearing and innocent enough but soon you began to see it for what it really was – selfishness. It masquerades as insecurity and love but whenever the neediness is not catered to, and its expectations not met, it can become manipulative, aggressive, or even dangerous. It becomes “rude” and “self-seeking.”
The world even suggests that this is a full-blown and mature love. That it is deep and passionate. But in truth it is anything but. A lot of love songs enforce this. There is a name for such songs, they are called “stalker songs” and they have been around forever and can be found in every genré.
• The Police: “Every move you make, every step you take I’ll be watching you.”
• Death Cab for Cutie: “I Will Possess Your Heart”
• Dido: “Here with Me”
• Morrissey: “The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get”
• Carrie Underwood: “Before He Cheats”
Some tend to think God operates like this. They think he is always pestering those he chases until he finally wears them down and they give in. They think of God in terms of a stalker. That he will “possess your heart” whatever the cost. But God does not need a restraining order. That is not love; that is psychosis; desperation.
Might I leave you with three very closely related thoughts about God’s love; about selfless love?
1. SELF-SEEKING LOVE SEEKS FULFILLMENT AT YOUR EXPENSE. GOD’S LOVE SEEKS YOUR SALVATION AND WELFARE AT HIS EXPENSE.
Self-seeking love chases you to amass from you. God’s love seeks you to give to you.
There is a mortal enemy in the Star Trek series called, “The Borg.” Every trekkie knows about them. Whether you follow the Next Generation, or the Voyager series you know about these ghastly characters. In fact, TV Guide rated them as the #4 worst villains of their top 100. “The Borg” are an alien “cyber-species” and they “assimilate” other life forms in order to ravish and consume all their resources.
Their motto is “resistance is futile.” They will eventually wear you down or defeat you and they will eventually possess your life force and every other resource that you are or have.
Some people see God’s love in this fashion. Many think love (and hence God) is like “The Borg.” They suspect that a relationship with him is akin to being “assimilated.” They think he siphons off everything they have to offer and leaves them as nothing more than a robotic shell that is now dependent on him in order to function.
God is not “The Borg.”
Sin is “The Borg.”