Hmm, funny how often I say that. I guess high school (even when you're homeschooled!) keeps you pretty busy!
So my message is titled "LOVING God". If you have paid any attention to the modern Christian messages (especially in the music industry), you will have heard the blaring message of love between God and us. This concept is 100% Biblical, but somehow, despite hearing this message and desiring to have it become true, many Christians seem to miss the point. Why? (Side note: I'm not saying that I'm necessarily a huge fan of all the lovey-dovey songs about God that sound more like they're about another human...what my sweet mommy likes to call "God is my boyfriend songs").
Loving God is extremely important. There are so many Biblical verses I could pull for this one. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mine and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) is just one of many examples. The Song of Solomon is a picture of the love not only between a man and a woman, but also between God and His church, and in Revelation the church [believers] is pictured as the bride of Christ. When you are truly in love with God, it is beautiful and amazing. Loving God is so much more fulfilling than loving anyone or anything else. But for some reason, Christians-children of God, the bride of Christ, who are promised the Holy Spirit-often feel very far from God. This at first seems to be very surprising, but under further inspection, the answer is clear.
Loving God comes with action. Jesus says we must "take up our cross daily and follow Him". We have to learn to follow Him, but there's only one way to follow Him: by taking up our cross. Too many Christians (I myself was once included) expect "cheap grace," or "cheap love", which means you get the grace (or love) of God without any price to yourself and your flesh. But the Bible extols a "costly grace (love)", which means that we can truly obtain it only at some cost to ourselves. You can't follow Jesus and leave your cross behind you, because that cross is the way you follow Him. So too many people want to have a complete, full, joyful, and beautiful relationship with God (which is one the most beautiful thing in life) without having to alter their current lifestyle at all. This is unbiblical, however, as I have already said. The only way to truly know Christ is to change your life to show that reality.
No, this does not mean becoming legalistic or to never leave your Bible. And you can't find a true relationship with Christ in yourself, by trying to be as good as a Christian as you can be-because you will fail. The only thing to do is fall at his feet and surrender, one by one, the parts of your life to Him. Once your life starts to follow Him, inevitably your heart will too.
If you really desire to discover more in this area of your life...I'd recommend any book by the Eric and/or Leslie Ludy.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:21