I can still remember vividly when I crossed the line from enduring religion to enjoying Christ.
I was a junior at Ouachita Baptist University, and had a stellar Southern Baptist pedigree. I’d been in SBC churches with my folks forever. Somewhere over the years, I’d become a 3-time-a-weeker. I had had great Bible teachers as preachers growing up and then also while I was there at college.
However, somewhere along the way, I’d missed it. Don’t get me wrong; I was a follower of Christ and passionate about His cause. However, as I recall, this one morning in my dorm room on the third floor of Daniel South opened my eyes, or rather my heart, in a new way.
I was looking for a verse with “love” in it. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember my curiosity-turned-conviction discovery in the back of my Bible. It was the concordance. No big deal, usually. Find a word, look up the verse. That’s it; simple.
However, on this day, I began to leaf through the onion-thin skinned pages of my concordance in the love “section.” There were literally 3-4 pages referencing the word love in my concordance. The significance of that hit me like a ton of bricks.
For too long, I’d followed Christ because I knew the truth about Him and that He was a good God. I truly and deeply believed in Him and daily sought to surrender my life to Him.
However, on that day, I realized that I was deficient in allowing my life to be shaped by His love. Love. Such a short word and such a drastic life adjustment. I enjoyed arguing points of doctrine, of debating scripture and its meaning, of studying and teaching, etc. However, that simple word search led me to a humbling conclusion and profound lifetime pursuit.
I wanted to be like Christ. I wanted to be a man of love. I wanted others to see the radical, life-transforming, prison-liberating love of God through me.
I don’t know how many others have been convicted by the concordance in their Bibles, but I still remember that day. It’s part of my ongoing testimony of how God has worked in my life.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33.18-19)
God’s love does indeed become a three-course meal in times of famine and hardship. You can rest in it and learn to enjoy Him – simply because of His love.
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4.19)
When was the last time you simply enjoyed God’s love for you? How are you doing at loving Him and others?
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3.17-19)