More than a Feeling
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
I have found myself to be very hypocritical in proclaiming love for God and then failing to follow through with my behavior. My hypocrisy has always been most apparent to me in church worship. It has been all too easy for me to enjoy the music, feel the emotion, say the words and leave it at that. I can easily talk myself into a feeling for God. I love God, I just feel it. It is however, much different to actually allow love to change my behavior.
John insists that love is not just a feeling, it is a way of life. If I say I love my wife, then certain behaviors are expected of me. If I continually live in a manner that is completely inconsistent with being in love with her, then it will be apparent to all that my love is false. It does not matter what emotion I feel. If my behavior does not align with my confession of love, then my words are hollow.
I have done this with God. I have known that He has loved me and that He has saved me, so I loved him back. Or I should say, I emotioned (not a word, I know) him back without really allowing it to change my behavior.
I think that this discrepancy has been due to a misunderstanding of what God had done for me. It may be that I had not really allowed God to do anything for me. If you had asked me three years ago what God had done for me, I would have told you that He had saved me from hell. Hell however, was such a far off intangible thing that I am not really sure I had any appreciation for it. I really did not have a vibrant, practical relationship with him and though I felt some emotional attachment to God, I really did not love God. I had not actually allowed him to do for me that which He most wanted to do.
I am not thankful for the destruction I caused in my addiction, but for me, that is what it took to get there. I now understand that God has saved me and continues to save me from myself. I now have a deep, tangible relationship with him. I talk with him daily. I tell him of my life (as if He did not know). When it comes to daily choices, his interests matter as I love him dearly. I do not do it perfectly, but I turn to him daily to continually save me from myself. I seem to have no end to my defects.
In my love for God, I want to abandon self and follow him. I have grown tired of the destructive ways of my flesh and I have come to love the life that He grows in me when I follow. So, today, I will continue to deny self and follow/love God.