Not too long ago, I posted the following question on my personal Facebook page – “Why are you Christian?” I received a lot of well rounded answers. As I have pondered this question for myself, my answer has been boiled down to love. I love God, and because he has revealed to me the truth in his Son, Jesus, I am a Christian.
Why do I love God? My love of him can only exist because he first loved me. 1 Jn 4:16. In truth, I say that I love him, but I don’t love him near enough. If he is my all, then why isn’t my response to love something that others can more clearly in me? Some of you may say you see love of God within me, but it isn’t the fire of love for which I long. It doesn’t burn with intensity and draw others to the flame within me. No. I long to burn with love the way St. Paul burned. I want love to burn to such an extent that I live no longer I, but Christ in me. Gal 2:20.
At the same time, I do not want to endure what it takes to be aflame with love. I do not want to undergo the level of dying to self that results in that level of love. Then again, that level of love is all that I want. How can one endure such a contradiction?
I do not have an answer to that question. Through prayer and study, I have come to believe that he will bring me to it and through it. I just have to get up every day and keep trying to surrender my all to him. I have to keep telling him that such surrender is my free will desire, and keep asking him to remove all that keeps me from attaining that goal. The Bible tells me that because it is my desire, it will happen. I understand that my prayer has not been answered because God will not overcome through force the part of me that resists. No, despite being all-powerful, he will not force me. Instead, he will court me, seduce me, until my all surrenders freely.
I wish that day was today, but it likely isn’t. So, I will keep meditating on the greatness of his love for me, and work to be open to his on-going acts of salvation within me. I will do my best not to run from the fires, and to try and do better at tolerating the pain that goes with such surrender. I will keep remembering that such tolerance comes from dying to self. I will seek little ways to learn to die to my selfish wants and needs. I will keep asking him to show me more ways to die. I will keep on in faith until such time that I become all him, and yet all uniquely me in him.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit analyzing your own level of love for him. Do you understand that your relationship with him calls you to surrender ever further to his purifying love? Do you understand the way of the Cross? Imitating Christ? Do you need the Spirit to further show you the way? Ask him for the willingness to submit to the fire of love, and to respond to his great love with an ever more pure form of love.