For the new year,take the ‘Love Life’ check-up
I was thinking recently about when I was falling in love with my wife. Roughly 33 years ago, we were dating and falling head over heels in love. But we were four hours apart. We wrote each other every day.
I was working on the staff of a Baptist college in South Georgia, and I couldn’t wait until lunchtime to walk over and check my mail box. Often, there was a letter there from Amy. I also dropped one in the mail.
Then, after lunch, I couldn’t wait until evening to call her and catch up on our day. All week long, I couldn’t wait until Friday so I could travel and date Amy on the weekend. I was in love.
What about your relationship with Jesus? In Revelation 2, Jesus confronted the church at Ephesus, and told them, “You have left your first love (Rev. 2:4).”
The beginning of the New Year is a good time to determine if we are still in love with Jesus. What is it that interferes with our love relationship with Jesus? Life Action Ministries provides a “Love Life Check-Up” to determine if anything takes our love away from Jesus. Ask yourself:
Am I a lover of money?
Do I pursue money more than I pursue Jesus?
Do I measure success by material gain?
Do I strive for material riches more than for spiritual riches?
Do I neglect giving to my church and to the needs of others?
Am I a love of self? Am I self-centered rather than Christ-centered?
Do I feel that I have to be the center of attention?
Do I talk a lot about myself, my problems, my accomplishments, etc.
Do I get upset when I don’t get my way?
Do I want everything done my way?
Am I a lover of pleasure?
Do I have time for hobbies and leisure activities, but not for God’s Word?
Do I go to church fellowships but not to church prayer meetings?
Do I let sports, hunting, fishing or other activities keep me out of church?
Do I enjoy television, music, movies, sports, etc., but get bored listening to sermons?
Do I get upset when church goes long because it interferes with my plans?
Am I a lover of the world?
Am I more concerned about how I look to others than to God?
Do I live to climb the ladder of success rather than to glorify God?
Do I not take time for spiritual disciplines, but take time for whatever else I want to do?
One Sunday morning in 18th century London, Robert Robinson was walking the streets filled with people on their way to worship. Robinson was lonely and miserable.
The sound of church bells reminded him of where he used to be in his relationship with God. That was a long time ago.
A horse-drawn carriage approached him, and a woman obviously dressed for church said, “Sir, I’d be happy to share this carriage with you. Are you going to church?”
He almost declined, but then said “Yes,” and stepped into the carriage.
They introduced themselves and the woman recognized Robinson’s name and said, “I was just reading a verse by a poet named Robert Robinson.”
“Yes, I wrote those words years ago.”
These words would one day be set to music and become a great hymn. He began to read them from a book she pulled from her purse.
“Come, thou fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace.
“Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.”
His eyes slipped to the bottom of the page.
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
“Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for thy courts above.”
He was so touched he could barely read those words.
“I wrote these words that describe my life right now, prone to wonder, prone to leave the God I love. I’m not where I should be.”
The woman said, “You also wrote, ‘Here’s my heart, O take and seal it.’ You can offer your heart again to God, Mr. Robinson. It’s never too late, no matter how far you’ve wandered.”
In that moment, Robinson turned his heart back to God. Is that what you need to do this year?
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville. The church gathers at 352 McDonough Road. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.