All You Need Is Love

I just got back from a revival service…I literally haven’t been to one of those for almost 10 years…here are some thoughts about my experience from the other side…

Tonight, I heard that God knows all that I think and everything that I do, and that He is going to judge me for everything that I’ve ever done. I know this kind of talk is to bring sinners to repentance, but for me, when I was younger, all this managed to do was make me afraid of God and the all the things He could punish me for if I wasn’t “doing right.” This fear of God led me to performance-based Christianity instead of to Christ Himself.  I usually walked away from these kinds of services more self-focused than I was before I went into them. They became about me and what I needed to do better in order to please God. I remember one speaker who was in a wheelchair telling his story about how he rebelled against God and then he fell off a cliff.  I had this constant fear that I was going to be in a car accident and that God was either going to cripple me in some way by scarring my face beyond recognition or by taking my legs. I thought about this every time I got in a car.  I don’t think tragic stories have to come across that way…God obviously uses what we think are tragedies to draw us to Himself in unbelievable ways and not as a form of punishment.

Tonight, the speaker used Psalm 139. This is one of my favorite psalms. It speaks to me of Abba’s love for me…how He formed me…how He created my paths for me before the foundations of the world…how He knows me inside and out…how He knows my thoughts before I even say them…this psalm tells me of my Abba who lovingly created me, not a God who wants to use my thoughts against me so that I’ll turn to Him…I was disappointed to see the psalm used as a tool to try to turn unbelievers to Christ out of fear and not out of love.

In my past experience, alot of evangelistic preaching has been hell, fire and brimstone. How hard can it possibly be to get people to walk the aisles? I mean, really, what sane person would want to spend eternity burning in a lake of fire? But, the speaker tonight didn’t focus on hell so much, but rather the relationship with God through Christ, and he was much more grace-oriented than most I’ve heard.  I can appreciate that.

I guess I just keep coming back to the statement that the love of Christ compels…compels sinners to believe and compels saints to fix their eyes on Jesus.  Really, this life is all about relationship with Christ…”that I may know Him”…we miss everything if we miss Christ.


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