By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman
Loving God requires us to be intentional. Joel 2:12 tells us to turn to our Lord and to give Him our hearts. What decision will we make? Turning to Him must start with salvation. After salvation we must continue to be intentional in loving Him.
There are numerous idols that can get in our way of loving God. Activities such as music, sports, and other school events, have come between families and God. Too often we are setting a bad example for our children by allowing these activities to take precedence over our faithfulness. We are seeing the results of this as years go by.
The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board recently distributed a poster with the message, ‘Will the child you love be among the nine?’ I wish it was a positive message that 90 percent of our children are trusting Jesus, but it’s not. Nine out of 10 children are not accepting Jesus as Savior. We have missed the mark! As adults we are setting the bad example when we consistently take off on the weekend and spend it on the river or in the camper.
Taking a vacation is not the problem, but when we are doing this on a regular basis month after month, we are being intentional in the wrong way. Love God first and foremost with all your heart.
Loving others requires us to be intentional. In I John 4:7-11, John makes it clear that loving God and loving others are connected. The natural progression is to love God first and as we do that to love others. Leviticius 19:18 is the source material when God commanded that we love others. This is given as a command because our sinful self does not want to do this naturally. Therefore, we must work at loving others and make it a lifestyle.
At times, it will require a personal sacrifice as in the story of the good Samaritan. It cost him to love and care for this wounded man. Financially speaking, we see it cost at least two days wages (the two denarii) to care for this man initially. But it didn’t stop there because the good Samaritan promised to cover any additional expenses that were needed for the man’s care. It also cost time.
This good Samaritan was on his way somewhere, but he adjusted his schedule and gave up something he would never get back — time. Time that day to tend to the wounds, transporting him to the inn, and time in the future to return and check up on the injured man.
Loving us required Jesus to be intentional. How many times have I glossed over the love Jesus has for me? His love was proven time and again by how he treated others around Him. Jesus gave time, food, forgiveness, healing, and then Jesus gave His life. The supreme act of showing intentional love. Jesus stated in Matthew 26:53 that He could have called down angels for protection, but Jesus intentionally went to the cross and gave His life so we could have eternal life.
How is your Sunday School class or small group intentionally loving God and others? What about in your personal life? What change needs to be made? Love others to Jesus!