In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan says, “It confuses us when loving God is hard. Shouldn’t it be easy to love a God so wonderful? When we love God because we feel we should love Him… we have forgotten who God really is.”
That statement put me on a train. A train of thoughts that ended with this question:
If loving God can be hard, why am I surprised when loving others the way God calls me to love them is hard?
I recently felt like God required me to take specific action in a specific situation. I did. I’m glad I did. But the whole time I couldn’t stop my selfish and sinful mind from dwelling on all the ways things could go wrong. Knowing and believing it was the right thing to do didn’t stop my self-centered thoughts.
Even still, I’m half afraid the consequences of my obedience will cost me more than I want to pay. While others see and (maybe) praise my actions, I know the truth about my reluctant heart. More importantly, God knows the truth. My actions don’t reveal who I really am, my heart does. I am a sinner. A selfish sinner.
I do understand following Christ is a process. I also believe that obedience when I don’t feel like complying still pleases God. But this experience illuminated that I STILL struggle with the most basic sins – and probably always will.
Why is sacrificial love hard? Why is it hard to love others the way God calls us? Because we are called to love others the way Jesus loves us. Jesus loves us with a sacrificial love, and there is nothing easy about that.
Jesus loves us the way God asked Him to and it was hard. The consequence of His obedience cost Him more than He wanted to pay, but He paid it anyway – willingly. He experienced the wrath of God so that I don’t have to. He took my sin, my selfish self-centered sin, upon Himself so I could stand before God forgiven.
If Jesus could do all that for me, If God could plan all that for me, then I must push on. I must love, even when it is hard. It is an act of obedience, but also proof of my love for God. It is part of ‘working out my salvation.’
And it has nothing to do with how I feel.