I’ve been writing lately about our approach to God and how we fear him. Many times, we talk about the love of God as the main draw. (Interestingly, the word love does not show up in the book of Acts in the reaching of the non-Christians. It seems that the idea of Jesus being resurrected was the main emphasis. Paul talked about it so much in Athens that some people thought he was talking about two gods.)
I would like to postulate that one reason we are so hesitant to come to God is not that we don’t think he loves us. We hesitate to come to him because he does love us. Sadly, the last thing some of us want is the love of God or anyone else for that matter. Why? Because love from another means that that other seeks our good.
Now with the love of God, God does seek our good. He seeks to make us who we were meant to be. He is the surgeon correcting what is out of joint in us. Unfortunately, the operation is quite painful and a number of us are quite resistant because we really don’t know that what we want is not what is good for us.
Take as an example the young man who is addicted to internet pornography. Unfortunately, this is becoming a higher and higher number, even among Christian men. The only reason a person is with that is because they think that it is giving them some good that they need to have.
The love of God tells us that morally, that person should leave that behind. Why? Because they are missing out. They are settling for less than the greatest good. If anything we do is a sin, we are at that point settling for less than the greater good. Please note something also. The greater good is not necessarily to us the immediate greater good. It is the long-term greater good.
I am a single man and as such, I am to remain chaste until I marry. This means that in the area of sexuality, I am to remain pure and that doesn’t just mean not sleeping with women. It means keeping my thoughts and actions in the area of sexuality pure. It is a battle and a struggle.
So the question is, do I abstain from sexual immorality because I like to abstain? In a number of ways, no. I don’t like the idea of being a virgin. I don’t value chastity simply for the sake of chastity. If some want to be chaste in service to God, that’s fine, but I don’t see the point in being chaste for the sake of being chaste.
So why am I to do it? Because of the greater good. God would have me to enjoy sexuality with a woman that I will marry someday. Any desire I have to do otherwise is settling for something less. It seems like such a good idea at the time, but really, I know that it isn’t for my good. I know God has the best.
We’ve all been in such situations with our own struggles. We know that that desire seems so real and powerful to us and it’s just a simple little thing and no big deal. God will forgive us and we will go on our way. We can control whatever happens. It’s like the smoker who says he’ll just smoke one more cigarette and then quit. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
At these times, we don’t want God to love us. We would that he would take his watchful eyes off of us and allow us to indulge in our sinful desires. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, he does no such thing. He keeps with us. The love of God can seem hard at some points in that it calls us to resist what we don’t want to resist or do what we don’t want to do.
Naturally, this means that if we are to approach God, we are to approach this love and this love will not let us stay as we are. It will change us. It will transform us. It will be painful. We have to ask if we really want that or not. I believe there are many who want no part in that love for they think their good is greater than the good God has for them. This is especially true in the area of sexuality, and yes, I think many more people would be Christians were it not for the biblical view of sexuality.
This is then another reason why we fail to approach God. The antidote I believe is simply to realize the truth. God really does want our good and we gain when we allow him to shape us. Consider the example of when you see a stray cat. Now I am a guy who likes cats and I always think of this when approaching one.
I got out of my car at my apartment tonight and on a fence was a cat. The cat seemed scared of me and I could hear a little mew several times. I went up to pet it speaking gently, to which it jumped behind the fence and while I couldn’t see it, I could still hear it. It was quite saddening. If only the cat had let me approach. What was uncomfortable and frightening to it would have been a great comfort. I simply wanted to give it some love.
May we be willing to let God come to us and love us rather than run and hide from him.