I finished reading a book. I can’t believe I actually finished it, considering I never finished reading a single book throughout most of high school and even college. But this one was different. This one spoke to me directly, to all my doubts and all the securities I still latch onto, everything about my life that still screams to me, ‘She doesn’t love or trust God.’
My small group leader recommended Loving God by Chuck Colson as a good book to read with the high school and college girls at my home church while I was back for the summer. It was the wakeup call I needed to see my own life a little more clearly, as well as my church. We did not, and still do not, really love God or know how to love Him. I’m still learning. One of my favorite chapters was on the gangster Mickey Cohen, and Colson brilliantly portrays how and why he, and how many of us, are ultimately unable to choose to love God – ‘You never told me that I had to give up my career. You never told me that I had to give up my friends. There are Christian movie stars, Christian athletes, Christian businessmen. So what’s the matter with being a Christian gangster? If I have to give up all that – if that’s Christianity – count me out.‘
To love God is to obey Him. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him [1 John 2:15]. Part of loving the things of this world is accepting what the world tells is ok to do. The more I view a certain complicated and unhealthy friendship in my life, the more I see that I simply cannot follow what the world tells me is ok. The world, my friends, tell me that things will be different this time, we can still be just as close as we once were. Their advice contradicts everything God has been telling me through my mentors, which has only reassured me because the world and God are always at odds.
We always pray for God to show Himself to us. At least I did, when I was younger. I now see how ridiculous this is. God shows us who He is in everything we do, but we just refuse to see it and acknowledge it as God. We always have the same old dilemma of choosing God or choosing the world, and God invites us to see just how faithful He is and what an abundant life He promises us when we simply trust and obey Him and choose Him, rather than choosing the instant comfort and security of knowing what choosing the world holds.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [Philippians 3:8].