Pastor Sam's Reflections

Awakening to God’s Love
March 03, 2017

Verses for Meditation: I love you, O LORD, my strength . . . As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.  - Psalm 18:1, 30

Last Wednesday was the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season to prepare for Easter.  Here is a devotion that reminds us of the importance of recognizing our own human limitations:

How can we love a holy God?  The simplest answer is that we can't.  Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power.  The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands.  Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him. He is the One who takes the initiative to restore our souls.  Without Him we can do nothing of righteousness.  Without Him we would be doomed to everlasting alienation from His holiness.  We can love Him only because He first loved us.  To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.

If we are in Christ, we have been awakened already.  We have been raised from spiritual death unto spiritual life.  But we still have "sleepers" in our eyes, and at times we walk about like zombies. We retain a certain fear of drawing near to God.  We still tremble at the foot of His holy mountain.

Yet as we grow in our knowledge of Him, we gain a deeper love for His purity and sense a deeper dependence upon His grace.  We learn that He is altogether worthy of our adoration.  The fruit of our growing love for Him is the increase of reverence for His name.  We love Him now because we see His loveliness.  We adore Him now because we see His majesty.  We obey Him now because His Holy Spirit dwells within us.  He is holy, holy, holy.  - R.C. Sproul in "The Holiness of God" (in "How Great Thou Art" by Steve Halliday and William Travis)

In a world that prides itself on individualism and independence, there is an all too often tendency to think that it is we who have "made a decision for Christ."  Thus, when we are called to change or to give up something, we think it is we who have sacrificed, that God should be happy we are offering something to Him at all.

But Lent reminds us of our mortality, our sinfulness, and our corruption.  Lent reminds us of what we truly are, a few pounds of chemicals, a hundred or more pounds of water, and a couple volts of electricity.  Lent reminds us that we are but dust that is on earth but a few short years.

When we realize who we are, it is then we see who God is.  And when we see what God has done for us, it is then our spirits are made alive and we realize how truly blessed we are in the eternal hope Jesus has given us.

So as we begin Lent, take some time to reflect on how fragile we truly are.  The book of Ecclesiastes is a good dwelling place for reflection to begin the Lenten season.  As you do, turn your eyes to Jesus and pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken your sensitivity to God's great love and the new life we have in Christ.  Have a blessed week! - Pastor Sam