I am awed at the power of God to instill in us an affection for God and a hunger and thirst after righteousness. (Mt. 5:6)
I remember how God put into me, at the point of my salvation at 29 years old, an understanding that my old fleshly desires and love of this world was to be put away. Having grown up in the ‘60s and ‘70s during the sexual revolution, parting with my old lifestyle had to manifest a radical change. And I set out at that point to“seek ye first the Kingdom of God”. (Mt. 6:33) I was a babe in Christ and I longed for the pure milk of the Word. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby.” (I Peter 2:2)
I was more than an admirer of Jesus; I was a follower of Jesus. Charles Taylor writes in his book, “The Secular Age”; “There are people who are admirers of Jesus at best, who have no intention of getting themselves crucified or even inconvenienced.” Just as Simon Peter and Andrew, fishing in the Sea of Galilee, dropped their nets when Jesus said; “Follow Me.” (Mt.4:19), so I dropped the traditions of this world and followed Jesus. You might say it was a genuine conversion, being a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4) The will for the world was miraculously dismantled and the will for Jesus and His Word was miraculously made alive for spiritual things. “For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him.”(I Cor. 2:14) This is true of every one of us who “were dead in our trespasses and sins”. (Eph. 2:1) But God, upon the moment of our salvation, redeems our will and gives it a desire, a delight, a romanticism, a curiosity for the things of God, having received “not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might KNOW the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (I Cor. 2:12)
It is a lie to say that one loves God and does not desire to obey Him. “Now by this we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says ‘I know Him’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (I John 2:3-5)
May I suggest that a “casual” love for God, His Word, and the fellowship of His church is very vulnerable to a casual view of sin which has led many believers to be a casualty of sin, subsequently losing their moral integrity? Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers a remedy for this condition; “A human being’s moral integrity begins when he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions.” As far as loving God, the French Abbot, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, stated; “The true measure of loving God is to love Him without measure.” It’s the nature of genuine faith to have a deep measure of love for God in light of a deep gratitude for being delivered from the kingdom of darkness. “He has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col.1:13-14) The heart being greatly warmed by this knowledge is the result of God’s work in us. “I will give them a heart to know me, they shall be my people, I will be their God.”(Jeremiah 24:7) “Many waters cannot quench the love.” (Song of Solomon 8:7) When the love factor is very high for Jesus, one cries out; “My beloved is mine and I am His!” (Song of Solomon 2:16)
I understand that many genuine conversions still need a lot of work. Conviction for righteousness is shaky, failure to pursue discipleship has been neglected, a lukewarm attitude toward God is evident, a carelessness about the seriousness of sin prevails, and on it goes.
Maybe you have become complacent in your relationship with the precious Lord Jesus. You have lost your initial joy of the miraculous salvation that you once enjoyed. As a result, the genuineness of your faith looks questionable. Come back to Jesus! Love Him, know Him and walk in His truth, and obey His commandments. Beloved, repent of your waywardness, of your sins, and come to Jesus for He cares for you. Get back to having a quiet time, reading His Word, sitting under the preaching, teaching and worship in your local church. And give credence to others that your faith is genuine for we “are the light of the world.” (Mt. 5:14) God will bless you as you let your light shine!