Stop Loving – To Better Love…
So often the pursuit of our careers turns into an unhealthy focus on “stuff” as the symbol of our success. The more stuff we acquire the more we feel that we are accomplished in our endeavors. This ever increasing acquisition of possessions spirals into a black hole that sucks everything in our lives into a high-pressure focus on what we and people around us have.
Focus is a way of showing love. We pay lots of attention to those we love. We sacrifice for those we love. We make adjustments to please those we love. We are sensitive to the needs of those we love. We can’t think of a better way to spend our time than to spend it being with those we love. In other words, our thoughts, emotions, and well being are focused on the special “those” we love.
Spend a moment with the paragraph you’ve just read. Read it again, this time replacing the word “those” with the words “the things”.
Focus is a way of showing love. We pay lots of attention to the things we love. We sacrifice for the things we love. We make adjustments to please the things we love. We are sensitive to the needs of the things we love. We can’t think of a better way to spend our time than to spend it being with the things we love. In other words, our thoughts, emotions, and well being are focused on the special “things” we love.
Then read the same paragraph one more time replacing the word “those” with “the job.”
Focus is a way of showing love. We pay lots of attention to the job we love. We sacrifice for the job we love. We make adjustments to please the job we love. We are sensitive to the needs of the job we love. We can’t think of a better way to spend our time than to spend it being with the job we love. In other words, our thoughts, emotions, and well being are focused on the special job we love.
Do the revised statements ring true in your life? It may be time for you to consider the Love God Hates. In 1 John 2:15 of the New Living Translation it says,
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.“
It is clearly a command to not love the “things” of the world – things that do not enhance a spiritual relationship with God and the people God gives us to love – people like husbands, wives, and kids. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus explains it this way,
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
He calls for an examination of your life. Who or what do you serve? Who or what do you spend your time focused upon? For whom or what do you compromise in order to please?
When He gave us the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:5 God said,
“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”
He hates it when our love for stuff (including jobs) crowds Him to one side.
When you find yourself unemployed or just unhappy with life in general it is an excellent time for a re-evaluation. Have you fallen in love with “stuff” or perhaps even with the job itself? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your affection. Perhaps it’s time to rethink your priorities. Perhaps God is using this period of unemployment to bring you to a point of reconsidering what or whom you love.
Continuing in Matthew 6, Jesus gives us the answer to the question of affection and priorities – the answer to the problem of not having room to love God because we love the “things” of the world more. This answer is especially pertinent for those of us struggling with the anxiety of unemployment. Start reading from Matthew 6:24 and read all the way to verse 32, then stop! Take a breath and read verse 33.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”(NLT)
It is a promise of God that if we refocus our affections and priorities on the things and people of His kingdom and His righteousness, He will take care of what we need – including a new job.
Six Questions to Ask Yourself
Don’t just give them a passing thought. Stop and really think them through. Pray about each and ask the Lord to assist you in better seeking His kingdom and His righteousness in these and other categories of your life.
1. What stuff can I sell or give away?
2. What service contracts can I reduce or eliminate to save money?
Can I reduce my premium cable TV or even do away with it?
Can I reduce my cell phone plan?
Can I eliminate my home phone and just use my cell phone?
3. What steps can I take to simplify my lifestyle?
4. How can I reduce or eliminate eating out?
5. Can I re-prioritize my time to spend more of it with my family?
6. Are there groups or Bible studies at church I can attend to help me rethink my life?
Talk to your pastor or some other Christian friend. Ask for suggestions on re-focusing your life and seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness. Make a plan and execute it and you’ll find a love that God loves and the power to replace the love that God hates.
Think about it…