Warning, Corny Alert!!!!! What you are about to read can be detrimental to your unromantic outlook on life.
John Bevere writes a lot about his wife Lisa and when he does, believe it or not, I can relate. Maybe many of you can too. I am an extremely blessed person. Like Bevere has with Lisa, I have experienced true love with my wife Susan. When he writes about how he thought about his wife in the early days of his relationship with her, I remember my early days with Susan. I was so much in love, I thought about her almost every waking moment. I know this is “corny” but it is true [you may want to stop reading now].
I literally looked for excuses to be with her. We would walk from high school to my after-school job; the walk was so nice because it gave me a chance to be with her. We would go out on a date and then I would park my car in front of her house and we would “extend” the date with conversation. She should have gone into her house but I wanted to get to know her more. I enjoyed getting to know her and the more I got to know her, the more I knew I loved her. When she asked me to do things for her, I did not mind, especially if it involved me getting to see her; delivering something to her house was not a problem. As I write this, you may be thinking this is just too sugarcoated [sickie sweet]…too exaggerated to really be true.
But it was true.
Bevere says this passionate love is what Christians need to have to follow the commandments of God. If we have this type of love, following the commandments is pleasurable. Nothing Susan asked of me was burdensome in the early days of our relationship.
But that changed…
What was different as time passed? Well, work was a big thing. Teaching at a college took time and successful teaching at my college required not only commitment to the classroom but we also had to excel in community education, professional development and institutional leadership [committee work]. To succeed, we had to put in long hours and be dedicated to doing the best. Tenure was important. That is what all faculty work toward [otherwise known as job security].
To add to the pressure, I desired more education. I was asked to teach speech communication and when I took my first classes, I really like the subject; however I felt I did not have enough academic preparation. So back to the university I went to pursue a Master’s degree in speech and then because I really enjoyed a special branch of speech communication [interpersonal communication], I pursued a Ph. D. in that subject. Guess what…slowly I began to focus on my job and my education. Susan did not get the attention she deserved. What was happening was I was shifting my passion from my wife to other areas of my life.
Sadly, when she made requests, sometimes I felt unable to drop everything. What was I thinking? “Wow, can’t you see I am overwhelmed with work here? Can’t you do it yourself?” Some of her requests became burdensome.
Why do I tell you this? How does this relate to the book Good or God?
If we don’t have a passion for our God, His requests become burdensome. In his book, Bevere has been writing a lot about commandments and how God expects us to meet His standards, not society’s. He has detailed many of the commandments that are evident in the New Testament. He has revealed that many “New Testament Christians” think the Old Testament commandments are not relevant in a post Jesus world. They are burdensome and so what. If we fall short of meeting God’s standards, God’s grace will cover us. His understanding of our nature and His ability to forgive us is so comforting, reassuring and enabling.
Did you catch that last word?
The idea that grace covers our sins can enable us to follow the whims of the world when God is telling us: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” [1 John 2: 15]. Check out this very clear admonition; it is from the New Testament.
Bevere explains that the key phrase that should guide us is from John 14:15, the verse that says “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” I would ask you to really think about that scripture. Many people read it like keeping commandments will result in God loving us, but does it really mean that? Bevere reads it as if you love God, you will keep My commandments. The motivation for keeping the commandments is the passion that you feel for your God.
I kind of know what this means because of my feelings for Susan. Attending to her needs was easy. My love for her made her requests easy, even very desirable.
As a Christian, my love for God should make keeping His commandments easy, even very desirable…
“If you love Me, keep My commandments”…