“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26)
Valentine’s Day is coming! It gives us a chance to do something really special for the one we really love, and usually that person also shows some token of love in return. But what if he/she only expected you to shower your love on them and made only a minimal effort to show love back? Would you be happy with a one-sided relationship like that?
Are you in a one-sided love relationship with God? Sure you expect God to love you, but are you showing Him love in return? When you are truly in love, it seems all that is on your mind is that other person, you want to be around him/her constantly, it is all you talk about, and you want to prove your love by doing sweet things.
God wants that kind of love from us as much as we do from Him, as evidenced in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”
I believe most people think that by praising Him they are showing that love. But if your sweetheart only said they loved you and never did anything to show it, would you be satisfied?
How do we show God our love? John 14:21 says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him.” We can first show our love by being obedient and keeping God’s commandments. And that includes, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Do you have other “gods” in your life? Things that actually take top priority over God Himself? What if your sweetheart paid more attention to someone else other than you?
We naturally expect anyone who loves us to be kind to us and do special things for us. In what way can we be kind to God? In Matthew 25:40 we see Jesus saying, “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” The things you do for others you are actually doing for your Lord.
Most relationships cool down a little with time and get taken for granted. Let’s not take God for granted. Take action and show Him how much you love Him every day.
Do you believe? Do you believe that God loves you unconditionally? That He is aware of every tear you shed? That in this very moment, in this very place, you are in the will of the Father? Do you still believe, even during trials and sickness, that everything works together for good to those that love God? Do you believe that God hears your prayers, even when you do not know what to pray or how to put your thoughts into words, and everything seems against you? Do you believe when God seems to have shut the doors of Heaven to you? Do you believe in God even when fear lays hold on your thoughts and on your soul? Do you believe that He gives strength and comfort to those who need it? Do you believe that God holds you in His hands and that no one, nothing, can pluck you out of them? Above all, do you believe that God loves you, and that His love will never fail under any circumstances?
It is so easy to think that God loves us when life is going great. When we have so many blessings, and it seems that God is just smiling down on our lives. Ahhh….we can bask in His love and willingly praise Him, right? It’s easy during those times. So does God love us less when He sends us a trial? Is God loving us less when everything in life seems to be going wrong and it seems a dark cloud hovers over you no matter which direction you turn? The enemy would love for you to think that He no longer loves you or maybe loves you a little less than He does other people. That perhaps He is angry with you for something. Mind games. Satan is really good at them. Refuse to play! James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Tell him right now you refuse to believe his lies! God’s Word tells us in Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” He doesn’t love some people more than others. He loves us all the same.
But you might say, “I just don’t feel like God loves me.” God’s love is not an earthly warm and fuzzy feeling, it is a fact. On earth we think we can pretty much tell if someone loves us because of a feeling. But those feelings can be deceptive and fleeting. Is that the kind of love we want from God? God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to DIE for us. He would do it for you and you alone. Is there any love greater than that?
I John 3:1 reads, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” During the times when we are sick and hurting, we cannot rely on any feelings we have that God doesn’t love us. We have to rely on fact. The fact is that it says over and over again in the Bible that God loves us. We can either choose to believe God’s Word or not. Can you trust your feelings? No. Can you trust the Bible? Yes!
Psalm 103:10-13 “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Every person on this planet has sinned (Romans 3:23). Every person on this planet will continue to sin, no matter how hard we try not to, and God does not punish us with illness because he is angry with us for sinning. You may be thinking, “But if you knew what I did in the past, you would know why I think God is angry with me.” The devil will bombard you with thoughts of the things you have done and continue to do wrong, convincing you that God is angry and your illness is the result of that anger. He wants to destroy your trust in Him, and although he cannot take away the power of Jesus’ blood to wipe away those sins, he can make you think you are paying for them. But they have already been paid for. You are cleansed of any bad thing you have done if you are a Christian because of Jesus’ sacrifice. As the song says, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” God may allow sickness to teach us or to shape us in some way, but He does not deal with things we do wrong by pouring out his wrath on Christians.
Some sickness is our own fault and the direct result of sin. Take for instance alcoholism. It is a sin that can lead to serious health problems. Among them are liver disease, certain types of cancer, an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, neurological diseases, high blood pressure and even chronic pancreatitis. People who have willingly consumed excess alcohol and have health problems as a direct result of this are only suffering the consequences of their sin, not God’s wrath. Smoking and drug abuse can also have devastating effects on the body, but these effects are the natural consequences of abusing substances. Even food can be abused and lead to serious health issues.
People who are promiscuous and do not follow God’s guidelines for purity can suffer from a number of diseases, some life-threatening, because of their lifestyle. Again, this is not because God is angry and punishing Christians. He is the one who tells us in His Word how to keep safe from such diseases. He is on our side! If we follow the guidelines given in the Bible, we can avoid many maladies. It is just common sense. They were written for our protection.
Another sin with health consequences is worry. Worry is a lack of trust in God, and it can cause serious health problems, heart disease probably being the most serious. But worry can also lead to sleep problems, poor immune function, chronic pain, headaches, and chronic fatigue.
In posts on this topic, we will explore more about why God allows some people to suffer from poor health and not others, the difference between punishment and discipline from God, and how illness can even be a blessing!