Monday, May 23, 2011

Why do you pursue God?

Do you love God?
This is the question we run about trying to answer when we engage in church activities. Am I loving God well? Am I loving God through my worship, or with my job, or in my finances? We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if each area of our lives is in line with the Bible. We spend an inordinate amount of energy making sure that we are loving God.

Let me suggest a question that you can use in your own life (and in your LG to get people thinking):
Why do you pursue God?
This is a huge question that we don't often think about. Pastor Robbie McLaughlin brought forward one aspect of this in his message this week, specifically that sometimes we pursue God because our parents pursued God and it seems like the right thing to do. More often though, we just don't know why we pursue God. Let me give you two very common reasons why people pursue God.

1.) Often times we pursue God by being incredibly religious, moral people. We pray all the time, read the Bible, and speak of how great God is. And we do this so that God will bless us. Specifically, we try to be so good and so religious that God has to take us to heaven when we die. And when we live like this we believe there is a limit to what God can ask of us because deep down we believe that God is really in our debt! We feel we have been so religious that God must do good things for us. When getting God to bless you (we wouldn't say tricking God into blessing you, but that's what it is) is your primary motivation for pursuing God, you don't need Jesus to be your savior, because you are your own savior. Underneath what you say, the motivations of your heart show that you think you have saved yourself by being so good that God has to take you to heaven. This is a religious way of life.

2.) The second reason we pursue God is because he is beautiful. When something is beautiful it has worth and value in and of itself. This is perhaps the best way to describe God especially considering the cross. When you realize that you can't justify yourself by being your own Lord and you can't justify yourself by being so good that God has to take you to heaven when you die, you realize that your only basis for justifying your ongoing existence in this universe is how deeply you have been loved by God, in Jesus Christ. You realize that God already accepts you, and therefore you obey him because he is worthy to be obeyed. When you live like this you pray all the time, read the Bible, and speak of how great God is. But now it is not so that God owes you, it is out of grateful joy. This is a gospel way of life.

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