Monday, 27 July 2009

Who do we love the most?

The answer is "me"! No-one takes more of our time, no-one gets more of our attention, we give no-one more care than ... ourselves!

Paul David Tripp wrote: "Only love for Christ has the power to incapacitate the sturdy love for self that is the bane of every sinner, and only the grace of Christ has the power to produce that love." (A Quest for More)

How true that is! Nothing else is powerful enough. Nothing else seems important enough to divert our attention from satisfying our own interests. I need to be reminded of this often else ME and MY interests and MY needs and MY desires will be the selfish motiviation behind everything I do. We love and make much of what we think is the greatest thing deserving our love and attention and the reality is we're all so me-centred that we think WE are the greatest and most deserving there is. But the truth is there is one who is greater. One who is God Himself who, though He was rich beyond our wildest imagination, yet became poor for our sake. One who was perfect in every way and yet took the punishment for our sins instead of us. No-one is more worthy of our love and attention. No-one is greater than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of course the question could be asked how do we get such love? Love powerful enough to rescue us from our tedious little self-focused kingdoms where we never quite get the life we want, where we're never quite satisfied? C J Mahaney offers this simple yet profound advice:
"To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done. Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust"
(The Cross Centered Life)

It seems to me though that we face a challenge for neither the world at large nor the church in general seem to have much awareness of how me-centred they are nor of the destructive force it has. Most of the church seem to have at best only a superficial awareness of the extent of their 'sturdy love for self'. For some Christianity is not about what Christ has done for them but about what they can do for Him. Others seem to know and talk much about grace and yet there's little heart transformation. I think its because they've never been convicted of how self-focused they are. Its especially hard to detect when its wrapped up in a belief that one is about the Lord's business. There seems to be little experimental knowledge of the Apostle Paul's confession that when he wants "to do good, evil is right there" (Ro. 7:21). We are so consumed by self-love and self-protection that we can read a statement like this and automatically think it applies to other people but not ourselves!

We need to spend more time meditating on the gospel asking the Lord to shine his gospel light into all the dark recesses of our self-love. Perhaps if the world were to see a people in the church who are honest about their self love and who are increasingly growing in love for the Lord Jesus and for others then they might notice?

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