06 June 2016

True or False: All You Need is Love?


"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." ~1 John 4:8 NKJV
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets'.” ~Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." ~Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV
And all of Matthew 14: John the Baptist is beheaded, and Jesus goes off alone to a deserted place. A multitude followed Him, and he had compassion on them: healing their sick, ministering to them until into the evening. The disciples thought He should send the people away to find their own food. In the preceding chapters Jesus taught powerful lessons about the no-limits mindset of faith. Now that there is a huge, hungry crowd before His disciples, in verse sixteen He simply answers their request to send the people away with these words: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” The disciples respond with unbelief--with the assertion that they don't have enough food. So Jesus shows them that what they see with their eyes should not limit what they can do, and He feeds the five thousand with what would be a light snack if shared amongst the twelve.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? {12} “Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” ~Luke 11:9-13 NKJV
We absolutely have needs. Many different kinds. And the greatest, deepest, most vital need of all is oneness with God--to be filled by God and be in God as Jesus set the example for us. When we do that, everything else falls into place as our priorities match up with God's priorities for our lives: our vocation, our responsibilities, caring for physical things, etc. I'm not advocating an ascetic lifestyle, rejecting family and comforts in order to somehow draw closer to God. I'm saying that God already KNOWS everything that we need, and when we make Jesus our Good Shepherd, everything else takes its proper place in our lives. The psalmist wasn't joking around when the 23rd psalm came into being. We still have to be disciplined, we still need to be diligent in the things God has given us (family, work, etc.); all the while with our eyes set on the Lord of Hosts, steadily walking our our lives trained on His true north.