My older son was outside playing basketball down the street. He had stopped to wave at me as I drove past him on my way home from work. I walked in the door of my house and looked around. My wife was in the kitchen putting the final touches on dinner, and my youngest daughter was upstairs working on schoolwork. Our middle son was engrossed in whatever had his attention. But the moment that struck me was when the baby looked up from his blocks and realized his daddy was home.
For everyone else, it was business as usual. But for Michael Robert (not a jr), seeing me walk in the door was enough to stop him from everything he was doing. He instantly dropped what was in his hands and ran straight to me. It didn’t bother him that there were obstacles (he didn’t even try to avoid them), and whatever fun activity had his attention was quickly forgotten. He was singularly focused on making his way to his daddy for a hug and kiss.
So What’s the Problem
My heart was filled with joy. I thought, what a gift it was for God to give my son such love for me! But my joy quickly turned to sorrow as I realized how infrequently I ran to my Heavenly Father in the same way. Why is it so easy for me to push away urges to pray or read the Scripture, and instead focus on whatever earthly task is before me? How many times had my Father in Heaven stood at a metaphorical door and simply looked on as I continued in my personal pursuit, rather than run to Him as my son ran to me that day?Sin, while always present, is to be repented of regularly (1 John 1:8-10), even the ones which don't have the same perceptible outward devastation as others. Click To Tweet
God’s Word tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” (Luke 10:27). Yet fallible humans will constantly fail to live up to the righteous standard that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled. But knowing we are fallible and shall never attain perfection in this life is no excuse. Sin, while always present, is to be repented of regularly (1 John 1:8-10), even the ones which don’t have the same perceptible outward devastation as others.
What Does Repentance Look Like?
So what does repentance look like in this case? Are we to cast away every human endeavor for the sake of serving our Lord? Should we quit our jobs, sell all that we have, and “walk by faith?” Some of this of errant thinking is dealt with here.
For now, allow me to offer a few suggestions for what repentance looks like when we are repenting of not loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Maintain a dedicated private prayer life
Brother or sister, do you strive to fit prayer time into your busy life? If you do, that is good! But, rather, ought we not fit our busy lives around prayer? Why isn’t communing with your Father the first priority? Shall we enjoy God’s blessings and fruitfulness and neglect the source of such goodness? Schedule time with your Lord and do not neglect it.
Secondly, follow those promptings and urgings you sense to pray. I have an app on my phone which notified me periodically to pray. Why is it so easy to swipe up and snooze that alarm? Do not ignore any sense you have that you should pray!
Spending time in the Scripture
Similar to praying, have you prioritized your time in the Word? Do you have a plan to read the Bible every day? To memorize it? To not only read it but study to understand it more fully? Again, why is it so natural for you (and me!) to read status after status on Facebook or tweets or whatever, yet taking in God’s love letters to you, His child, is easily abandoned? You would never spend a day and forget to eat a meal. Even if you did, your body would cry out in distress! You would stop whatever important or fun task you were engrossed in to stop to eat if you were hungry, yet why do you not hunger for God’s Word when you’ve neglected it for so long? (Matthew 5:6;4:4)
Finally, I want to draw your attention to our Sunday worship. God provided a sabbath rest to man in the garden and reiterated that rest when He provided the 10 commandments. We observe this concept on Sundays in the New Covenant. I realize it is arguable within Christianity how the Sabbath law applies to the Christian life. But what I want to draw your attention to is the universal practice of Christian worship on Sunday. We leave the cares of the world for an hour or several in order to gather with the people of God to worship the risen savior, Jesus Christ.
Many people have criticized the Christian Church for this practice. “Oh, how much more could be accomplished,” they wail, “if that time were to be used to feed the homeless, or evangelize the lost.” Let it not be so that you say in your heart, oh Christian, that the Sunday worship is a waste of time or could be better spent. Your Father is seeking true worshipers (John 4:23), and it is good for you to worship Him regularly and, in particular, with the brethren on Sunday.
As a baby running into the arms of his father, run to your Father each Sunday, trusting that your earthly pursuits will be properly handled by His sovereign care.
Loving God is a Command AND a Provision
Loving our great God is a command, yet also a provision for us. I command my son to eat vegetables, for I love Him. Look not on God’s commands as a burden but as a way that He provides for you (1 John 5:3). Come to Him all you who are weary and heavy-laden, for He gives rest! Turn away from worthless pursuits and put aside even good pursuits (including serving Him and His church) in order to commune with God through prayer, Scripture study, and worship with the brethren. You will be more full of joy as the result!