"Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure." (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
A while back, a man came into my office and said, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my spiritual growth. I’m kind of stuck in neutral.”
I said, “What do you think the problem is?”
He said, “I think my problem is I just don't love God enough.”
I said, “That's not your problem. Your problem is not that you don't love God enough. Your problem is that you don't understand how much he loves you.”
Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you say, “I don't love God,” it's because you don't understand just how much he really loves you.
To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. The only reason there is love in the universe is because of God. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love.
The reason you are alive is because God wanted to love you. The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God! Yes, it is important to serve him, obey, and trust him, but your first purpose is to love him.
Let this sink in: Your first duty is not to do anything but just be loved by God. “Dear friends in Rome. God loves you dearly, and he has called you to be his very own people” (Romans 1:7).
Talk About It
What is your response to the truth that your first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God?
Think about your current relationship with God. Has it become more about rules, regulations, and rituals than about love?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.