Friday, February 17, 2017

Following Jesus: Part 2-Loving God

If we follow Jesus, we will seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The problem is that we don't often really know what it is that we love. We may think that we love God, but our love actually belongs to something else. We pursue a different version of what the good life is, a different kingdom. In You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, James K. A. Smith makes the case that we are primarily loving beings and that our love is formed by habits and liturgies that we engage in. Many of the things that we do in our day-to-day shape us and present a vision of a life worth living that is antithetical to the kingdom of God.

Smith makes the point that our love for God is formed and strengthened by the liturgy of the church through the centuries. Coming from a background where we said that we didn't do liturgy (even though it really was a liturgy of sorts,), I have come to appreciate the parts of a worship service, from the greeting and call to worship where we are welcomed by God and called to come apart and lift him up, to the benediction where we receive one final blessing from God and are sent out to bring his Kingdom to bear in our day-to-day. In between, we sing praises to God, confess our sin and receive a reminder of his forgiveness. We give a portion of what God has given to us as an act of worship, and we hear the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus from the words of Scripture. We gather around the table and remember what Christ has done for us and receive a foretaste of the feast to come in the new heavens and earth.

All of these things have deepened my love for God, his Kingdom, and his people. I have found that they have begun to work in me to wean my heart from those things the culture says we need to flourish. I have a long way to go, but I am confident that God will continue to work in me and give me a heart for him.

May we all come to love our Father more and more.

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