I have described Pastor Chan as obsessed about God and he thinks all true Christians should be also. In fact, in Chapter 8 he has 13 markers for the “obsessed” person. Today I want to comment on the 7 remaining markers of the obsessed Christian.
- “People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers. Early last year we had a class at church on the popular book “I Am a Church Member” and one of the main points of the author was that some people come to church with their hand out. What can the church do for me? What do you have that will keep me coming? I am not sure that this is the correct attitude to have toward church. Are we not called to be givers and not takers? The church is to be a light of hope for the world. We exist to help those who are truly suffering, not those who are looking for free services.
- “A person obsessed thinks about heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is in front of them.” Where do you want to be when you have your end time? Pastor Chan writes of his Aunt Clara who does not want to be in a theater if God takes her. He takes her to see a play and leans over at intermission and asks if she is enjoying the performance. She says “Oh honey, I don’t want to be here right now. I just don’t know if this is where I want to be when Christ returns.” What are you doing in your days? Is it something you would be ashamed of if you met your Maker while you were doing it? Maybe you think Aunt Clara is too serious but her attitude is convicting, isn’t it. Sometimes I am not proud of what I am doing or what I am saying. Maybe I should think about heaven more frequently.
- “A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being.” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Luke 10:27]. Jesus boiled down the commandments to these two and they are big ones and they show a healthy obsession with God. Stop and really read them. Love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind. My goodness, really living a life with these ideals is serious work. Is He not calling us to be obsessed? Is He not calling us to love Him totally? I think so.
- Pastor Chan speaks of “being raw with God.” What he means is total honesty resulting in peace. How do you pray? Are you totally honest with God? Do you have a problem that you try to cover up? Do you try to explain away your sins by hiding your real motivation as if God does not know your real motivation? Prayer is a time for really “laying it all out with God.” He knows all about you; He “knit [you] together in [your] mother’s womb. Why try to hide from God when you pray? Lay your burdens down.
- “People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God’s word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them throughout the week.” I know that I can’t get by with the minimum, which is the Sunday worship hour. I need Sunday School. I need my own study, whether it is the Bible, a Christian Living book like Crazy Love or even a video on Right Now Media. The more I get into the Word, the better I will be. Often, it seems that the ideas that I need in my life pop up as I study, as if the verse, the writer or the speaker knows my needs. This keeps me strong throughout the week.
- “A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated.” I have known true joy and I have known true misery. As I recall moments of joy, I would really say that they are moments of contentment, moments that are due to day after day efforts at building my character. For character is built on day to day choices. When I know I have spent my time well, when I have avoided my problems with sin, when I have accomplished what I think I am proud of and maybe God would approve of, those are good choices. It is day after day, trying to do the right thing. Some would say that this life is boring but if it results in joy or contentment, that is a wonderful way to live.
- Finally, “the person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying ‘Thank You!’ to God. He revels in his role as child and friend of God.” God is complete as is. He does not need anything from you except your commitment to Him. Nothing you can do will earn your way into heaven. Nothing you can do will make Him love you more.
What do we need to do? Just praise him.
Yes Pastor Chan feels that the real Christian is obsessed with God and he presents a long list of ways we can be obsessed. What we think about ourselves as Christians is one thing; what God thinks about us is another.
Maybe Pastor Chan is right; maybe obsession is a good word, especially when it refers to how we love and honor our God. The more obsessed we are, the better off we will be. The more we feel that being obsessed about God is a crazy thing, maybe that is a sign that we are not the Christians we should be.