Looking back over the last 14 years, I’ve realized I got married for the wrong reasons. Well, not entirely, but let me briefly explain. I was attracted to my wife and thought she was a good fit for me and thought she’d be a great mom…and I really enjoyed being around her. Not bad things, of course. Great things, actually. But if I’m honest my thoughts were self focused.
I’ve since realized that self-focus doesn’t really work too well in marriage. My wife and I had to make a decision years ago to not operate from a place of self focus if we really wanted the relationship we longed for in our marriage. We certainly have not perfected this, but we are constantly working on it.
The same is true in our relationship with God. If you’re like me you became a Christian because you saw it as a benefit to you. That it is, by the way, true and beautiful. But at some point we begin to feel like something just isn’t right in our relationship with God if we continue operating like this. The love motivated sacrificial aspects of our relationship with God can’t just be one sided. At some point, like in my marriage, we must work on moving away from self focus to really experience the relationship we want.
Here are 4 things I believe a follower of Jesus eventually comes to understand and because of their love for God inevitably seeks to do:
- Believes in the benefits of Jesus’ death (Romans 5:11; 1 Peter 3:18). It can be boiled down to “relational reconciliation,” both in life and eternity.
- Embraces the call of Jesus’ death and God’s mercy (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 12:1-2). It can be boiled down to “selflessly living for Jesus and his Kingdom.”
- Learns about and obeys Jesus’ commands in community with other disciples (Acts 2:44-47). It can be boiled down to “evangelistic community.”
- Causes others to understand and embrace all three above (Matthew 28:18-20). This can be boiled down to “discipleship.”