Another thing that I’ve come to see more clearly is that when the Bible talks about virtue of any kind it has everything to do with power and not technique. When God asks us to love one another, He’s asking us to apply His power in our attitudes and actions toward each other. In some way that make the impersonal unconditional aspect more real to me. It’s not about how I treat a person, it’s all about the power behind every word and action. Virtue and God’s power are inseparable. Virtue is simply God’s power applied. It’s virtuous to God that you have learned to use the power He has offered to you, though it may not be perceived as so by man. That is why love never fails YOU but sometimes adds up to not ending in the result that humans see as successful. The more you are loved the less you will be loved(as the saying goes). Virtue love doesn’t always look like the love people expect, sometimes it’s separating from a negative person and not showing excessive kindness. Virtue is not what we expect and takes years to understand and learn. Since God’s ways are so different from our ways, it isn’t easy to learn and apply the power that is virtue, it’s messy and complicated as we apply and miss-apply in turn.
While listening to a lesson on Ecclesiastes, the verse “Remember your creator in the days of your youth” has been a focus of study.
This same principle got me to thinking about how I spend my strength and not just on a life long scale but on a daily one. I find that certain areas of my personal relationship with God get pushed to the very end of my day. Not my intake of the word but the function of my prayer life when I take time out to talk to God about those I love and the difficulties I’m facing. I tend to put that off till the last moments of my day when all my strength is gone, when I’ve given all my strength to the details of life. I sometimes think of God’s mandate to love Him with all of my strength as a mandate to give him every last drop but I’m coming to think of it in a new way too. If I want to love God with all of my strength then I want to use the greatest part of my life energy to be with Him, that time of day when I have the most energy. If I take that time to speak to Him of stresses and sorrows, if I do that before I’m completely exhausted, I may have strength from Him while the day is still young to deal with the stresses and sorrows of life before I’m completely exhausted.
It’s not a law to abide by or anything like that, just wisdom and a consideration to make before I rush off to conquer the details of life and only talk to God when I have no energy left.
The greatest advice given to us from God is this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength” This guarantees a fantastic life where all that God has desired for you and planned for you, He is able to bring to you. We use words like election and predestination to make it easy to reference in short this very cool promise. The more you get to know the God of the Bible the more you want to love Him. It’s impossible not to be amazed at His plan and who He is. You will never find another “god” who wants to give you everything and doesn’t want you to do anything but believe it and receive it. Another “god” who created your soul purposefully and put it inside your body and loved you since before the world was even made. Who was willing to be hurt and suffer more than you ever will, to solve the greatest problem you have, which is the inability to be with Him. All because He wanted to be with you personally. You’ll never find another belief system where it is all receiving on your end and all giving on God’s.
That kind of grace does something to you. It creates a sort of gratitude hunger. You love God because He loves you and has given you so much. You want to reciprocate with a furvent zeal. Most people hit that moment and God never really sees them again. They are off in the world trying SO hard to make God happy, all the while growing more and more miserable, bitter or just plain crazy. They think that now it’s their turn to start doing things for God almost to try and pay Him back in a way, that it’s what a Christian should do, work, work, work, get busy for God go to church and “get active”. They forget that this whole thing was about receiving what God has planned to give them since before the world was even made. The way to give back to God is simply to continue to receive everything He is waiting to give you. Go to the place where you can learn His word daily, which reveals who He is and what His plan is all about. The more you find out what He has for you the more you know how to receive it. When He gives and our lives take on meaning and depth, He gets the glory because it comes from Him. When we are busy working, we get the glory and things get screwed up. It’s why you’ll find some scary bitter old Christians.
When I talk about “all that God has planned to give you”, I’m not talking about new cars and big screen TV’s, although sometimes we get things like that too. I’m talking about knowing why you are on this earth and finding out the thing that you absolutely love doing and can’t seem to stop only to discover that it’s what some people might call a “work” only for you is a passion almost like you have a supernatural gift in that area. I’m talking about sufferings that start out as a sorrow and end in happiness to the point where you would never have missed that experience for the world because it gave you insight into who God is and you gained depth. I’m talking about overcoming death and fear and insecurity. It’s being a happy young or old person who on their dying bed is confident because God’s word was proved to be truth and God was so personal with them that they can recount the thousands of times He revealed Himself to them through things no one else could have known. It’s knowing that “all God has planned” doesn’t end here, there is much much more after this life. We will not be bored in the eternal state. We will have incredible indestructible bodies and God will always have plans.
This post took on a life of its own but I’m glad it did. I have that outpouring of gratitude tonight, that inexpressible joy and it’s found its way into this post.