- John Piper, When I Don't Desire God, pg 19.
Christ is to be cherished, not just chosen.
These words leapt off the page at me last night while I was at Barnes and Noble. It is something I've been thinking about a lot the past year or so.
I "chose"/ "accepted" Christ when I was 16 years old. But then eventually the new-ness wore off and real life settled in. I considered myself a Christian, but I had no idea what that really meant. I attended church every Sunday, went to youth group, and even joined the Christian club at my high school.
But does that make one a Christian? I found it easy to call myself one and yet I really didn't love my Savior. It was like, "Jesus, thanks for dying and all. That was really swell of you, and I appreciate it." I look back on that time and see I didn't love Him, not the way I could have been loving Him, and it breaks my heart. After high school things only got worse. That Christian club? Turns out that was the only real contact I had with Christians who were desperately in love with their Savior.
The youth group had been a joke, it was like walking down the hallway of a public high school. Boys and girls "hooking up," making plans for the weekend, swearing up a storm, ect. And it seemed like nobody, including myself, was really seeking God. We'd show up Sunday morning for church, and Tuesday evening for youth group, and that was the walk for many of us. So, the youth group had gotten dropped by time I'd turned 17. It was too much like high school, and I knew that it shouldn't be. But still my heart remained cold to Christ. Sundays were my favorite days because church was on Sundays, but by time Tuesday morning rolled around the longing I'd felt on Sunday was gone.
Then almost five years later, my world got turned upside down. And in that, I found out how awful my heart really was, how closed off I really was, and how Christ longed to release me from my bondage. And He has! Oh, the work He has done. Who would have guessed? Surely, not I! I'm beginning to understand that it isn't enough to "choose" Christ; He bore my sin that day on Calvary. It was I who put Him up there. It was I who should have been up there to receive my payment. Yet, He did it for me. And now? Now my heart breaks thinking about that. And I'm glad.
I have my complacent days; where the agony He bore on the cross escapes me, where I say "Thank You, Jesus, but I just want to do my own thing today," but I know He is calling me to the Father. Even on those days, I know I'm wrong and want to be in love with Him, but my heart has been hardened a bit and there is only One who can chip it away. With time He does, and I'm finding myself being molded more. And that's a beautiful thing.
Have you heard that cheesy phrase, Pastors seem to love using it from the pulpit, "You know how much God loves you? He loves you this much," as they spread out their arms to signify Christ's sacrifice. And it's true. But He loves us so much more than that! He loves us so much that saving us from our sin isn't enough.
He loves us so much He wants us to be as like Him as possible. He wants more than our actions, He wants our hearts! He wants more for me than to not swear, don't get drunk, don't, don't, don't. He wants me to want these things. He wants me, indeed He calls me, to want to be holy as my Father in heaven is holy. He wants me to want change, and He will not force it if my heart isn't in it. He said those who love Him will follow His commandments. He wants us to love Him, to desire Him, to seek Him, to follow Him! God Himself has called us to adore Him. Truly it is an honor, and an amazing duty to do so. And that, beloved, is only part of the call on every one of His follower's lives.