Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Lars Janssen
Imagine a man was lost in the wilderness. He decided that his greatest desire was to return to his home, so he bent his whole will toward that goal. For months, he foraged, hunted, hiked, climbed, swam, and fought his way back to civilization. When he finally arrives at his door, the house key he had carefully guarded through all his journeys doesn’t fit the lock. A bit confused, he rings his own doorbell only to have it answered by a stranger. As the situation unfolds, the man discovers that his long absence led to his family eventually having to sell their home and move. Suddenly, he realizes that he never really wanted to return to a home but to his family.
We can be a bit like this man. We make something into the thing when it isn’t. Like the man in this story, we aim everything in our life toward one thing, only to find out we ought to have been aiming for something else. Many Scriptures tell us what God designates as the thing. Here are a few:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 and quoted in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. … We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:11,19 and see Ecclesiastes 12:13 and Micah 6:8)
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
All these passages (and many others!) tell us about the thing. The main thing is to love God with all we are and have. In everything we do and every goal we work toward, we must aim at loving God. This means that in every conversation, venture, and even in conflict, we want to love God. And, as you can see from the passages above, loving God will always overflow into loving other people.
Someone recently paid me the highest compliment I’ve ever received. He said, “Lars, everything is about God with you.” I’m sure my life does not always reflect this reality, but I agree that everything really is about God. From the cohesion of our molecules to the most distant starlight made visible by the new James Webb Space Telescope, everything is about “the only true God, and Jesus Christ,” his Son. So we must ask, do our lives aim at loving the only true God and his Son, Jesus?
Consider these follow-up questions to help you think it through:
Does God become a topic of conversation at the dinner table or in the car?
Is Jesus part of the discussion when deciding where to live or work?
Are your favourite people to spend time with Christians—perhaps from your church family?
What is a good enough reason for you to miss spending time with God and his people?