Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fear of Love

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason. “I knew thee that thou wert a hard man.” Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.

—C.S. Lewis (from The Four Loves)

For reflection — Matthew 25:14-30

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Unaffiliated To Any Religions

A 2012 survey of US Millennials—ages 18 to 24— uncovered an interesting trend. The study, led by the Public Religion Research Institute, revealed that one in four young adults chose “unaffiliated” for their religious commitment. But 55 percent of that group had “identified with a religious group” when they were younger. They had simply walked away from the faith they once embraced.

Sadly, many believers in Jesus turn away from their “first love” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV). Knowing that the people of ancient Israel were prone to wander away from God, Joshua called together the “eastern tribes” to commend them and give them counsel. He commended them for faithfully following God’s commands as they helped to clear Canaan (Joshua 22:2-3). The Promised Land had been claimed and was now prepared for God’s people.

But as he sent the three tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) back to their homes on the east side of the Jordan (Joshua 22:4), Joshua also had some instructions for them (Joshua 22:5):

• “Love”—To maintain their relationship with God, they needed to love Him deeply.

• “Walk”—To stay in step with God, they needed to follow His ways completely.

• “Obey”—To honor God, they needed to obey His commands unceasingly.

• “Hold”—To stay strong in their faith, they needed to hold firmly to God uniquely.

• “Serve”—To live out their faith, they needed to serve God sincerely.

To make sure you don’t begin moving away from God—slipping from unashamed believer (Romans 1:16) to unaffiliated nonbeliever—consider the five words Joshua spoke to the people. As we love, walk, obey, hold, and serve in our relationship with God, our hearts will stay rooted in Him (Joshua 22:5).