Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dedication Vs Love

Dedication Vs Love
Sept 22, 2014
1 John 4:19  "We love because he first loved us."

I am a dedicated person, completely and almost perfectly.  I am a dedicated husband; I've never cheated on my wife and I come home to her every single night.  I am a dedicated father, being physically present for everything and anything possible.  I am a dedicated follower of Christ, obeying the Bible to the fullest extent and attending church when it's available.  But just because I'm dedicated, doesn't mean I have love for any of those things.  I can be dedicated to attending my children's soccer games, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love going to them.  I can be dedicated to serving in the church, week in and week out, but that doesn't mean I love serving in the church.  I can be dedicated to the Lord in practice, but that doesn't mean I actually love Him.

Dedication and Love are two different things.  If you have love, you will naturally be dedicated.  Dedication can and should be an outflowing function of love.  If you love something, you will be dedicated to it.  But you can choose to be dedicated to something without actually loving it.  It's called going through the motions.  Maybe at one time we loved something and became dedicated to it, and out of habit we kept up the dedication.  But maybe we've lost the love portion of the equation.  I know each and every one of you can think of an activity you do on a daily basis because you're dedicated to it, but you certainly don't love it and may not even like it.  A growing number of people have jobs they actually despise, but because of dedication, they go to work day in and day out.  It is a shame to have to work without loving what you do there.

It's also a shame to go to church and not actually love the reason why you're there or who you are there to worship.  Maybe you were excited in your love for the Lord at one time, but continue to go to church out of dedication.  While church attendance is an excellent habit, it is critical to find ways to renew your love for the Lord.  Marriages end in divorce all too often because the two people never renewed their love; they realized one day they were married out of dedication only, then decided not to be dedicated anymore.  This is also how Christians leave the church.  Christians realize they are only serving the Lord out of dedication, not love, and decide to end the dedication because it is hollow inside.  Dedication, without love is consuming and leaves you empty.  But love, it doesn't realize the dedication; it comes naturally.  Dedication keeps records of personal sacrifices, but love doesn't even realize a personal sacrifice has been made.

How do you love again, after simply being dedicated for so long?  You must find the reason you loved the Lord in the first place.  Scripture is very clear we ultimately choose to love the Lord because we realized His extravagant love for each of us.  I can tell you the Lord loves you, but unless you experience it, you will not love Him in return.  If you've ever loved the Lord, it was because He demonstrated His love to you in some fashion to the point you were overwhelmed with Him.  This made you love Him.  You couldn't help it; your love for the Lord simply flowed from your heart.  But you might be calloused now, unimpressed by His love and underwhelmed by His affection for you.  This would cause you to go through the motions, forgetting you ever loved Him.  It is time to renew your love for Him and find that reason, your own reason to love Him.  He never stopped loving you.  He is worthy of your love, but you must realize His love for you first.  Experience His love today and stop going through the motions.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ps 51:10, Is 40:31, Rom 12:2, 2 Thess 2:13, Rev 2:4

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