Do you want to experience more of God?
Aren’t you hungry for more of His voice, for more of His presence? I want to know what it takes to go deeper with God. Extended prayer and study? Deep suffering? I know those things can help, but as I prayed an answer came, surprising and simple, a single key to open the door to “more” of Him:
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart . . . “
Yes, I know, it’s a well worn Scripture. You probably have it marked in your Bible like I do in mine. So then why hasn’t this truth revolutionized our relationship with God? Why is this familiar concept such a foreign experience for us?
What does loving God “with all your heart” look like? We know the canned response: Lots of prayer, time in His Word, fellowship with His people. The same old answers–the right ones–yet we long to go even deeper with God.
But there’s one thing that stands in the way: You.
You see, we can’t experience more of God, until we love Him more and our“self” less. Philippians 2:5-8
I don’t mean self loathing or casting aside the intrinsic value God ascribes to every person. He created us in His image and so holds each life as precious. No, I’m talking about a love that promotes “self” as in self will, self assertion, selfish thinking and living. It’s the “self” that operates independent of God. Galatians 2:20
Let’s take it a step further and isolate the source of “self” love: pride and idolatry.¹ Romans 7:18
Right now this is fresh ground under my feet, newly turned soil. And I want to capture what God has shown me before “self” love reaches down and erases God’s soft footprints.
Ah, self love . . . an old companion. A false friend.
“Self” love stares at me in the mirror each morning and works to mold the reflected image into something it’s not. It walks with me to work, dressed to draw attention. It sits with me throughout the day and talks to me about myself. It promotes me and orders the lives of others around my plans.
“Self” love is a golden calf propped on my mantle. It’s a tall pole raised high on my roof. It’s a flag that waves at each passerby announcing “me,” “my achievements,” my ambition.”
“Self” love is my sister, my captor, myself.
Where would I be without it?
Perhaps without it I would be free to experience what it means to love God “with all my heart.” For I cannot love God and my”self “at the same time. Maybe then I could clear my mantle of the golden “self” reclining there, I could sweep away this split allegiance! When we forsake all other loves, God will allow us into the hallowed places of His heart.
Yes, it’s time to purge our life of every secret affection. To invite God’s pure love, His heart to join with ours. To lead us deeper. And we need only to grasp the key to experience more of Him–and less of “me.”
Feature Photo courtesy of Chris Liu