Francis Chan: Public passion should never exceed private devotion.
I wonder if the inconsistency in my walk with God has anything to do with the fact that I can lead a “successful” church in America without being in love with Jesus.
I’m sure I could blame American church culture, my position or a busy schedule for my lack of reverent intimacy. The truth, however, is that my sin and hypocrisy are a result of me.
I forget to love God.
It’s not like I don’t want to. In fact, when I’m deeply in prayer, it’s clear to me that there’s no place I’d rather be. I know that I love God. When I sit and think about Him, I’m filled with intense feelings of adoration. I’m convinced that He means more to me than my wife, kids or anyone else on the planet. I just forget to love Him.
We can argue that we’re busy doing ministry, which is how we express our love. But if that’s all God wanted, His words to the Ephesians in Revelation 2 would make no sense.
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary.” (NIV)
God recognizes the Ephesian church for their wonderful ministry. Yet He makes it clear in the next verse that they are not loving Him. He tells them, “You have forsaken your first love.”
What has always surprised me about that passage is God’s threat to remove them if they don’t start loving Him again. “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
God tells the hard working, sin hating, doctrine loving, persecuted church that He doesn’t want them around unless they love Him. He’s never been interested in unloving children. His desire has always been love. It was the great command in the Old Testament and the New (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37). Love was supposed to be the catalyst of all godly action.
When is the last time you came alone before your Father just to enjoy Him? If it has been a while, don’t waste your time reading this article. Get alone and adore Him. Pray that you would no longer merely love Him through your religious actions, but with the passion befitting a person in love.
When I first fell in love with my wife, I never “forgot” to call her or spend time with her. Rarely, if ever, did she get crowded out because I was so “busy.”