We love because God first loved us. I just wanted to take a second look today at this passage, which is often employed as justification for giving money to the church, and in context, that’s what it is talking about. But I want to you take a little deeper look at it. It takes this single issue, giving your goods and monies to the church, and makes a statement about human free will and what God thinks about it.
God designed us with free will. That is, God engineered our being by installing with us the ability to reason out and make our own decisions. In God’s kingdom, in which this command is intended to be fulfilled, He expects each person to give, not out of compulsion, or reluctantly. Did you see that? He does not want us to give against our own free will. He does not want us to fulfill this command to give without our own will and purpose to do so. God wants us to give willingly. He wants us to give because we think it is a good idea. In this, God loves a cheerful giver.
God expects you to exercise your own free will. It is His desire to see your will become more like His own as He works to help you grow and mature. But He wants you to do so because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.
I’ve always been interested in robots and automata. I just think they are fascinating. And so, with the technology becoming what it is, there is an area of robotics that involves the simulacra of women. There is this whole sub-genre of robotics that involves building robots that satisfy human sexual desires, or do they? In a real human relationship, there is necessarily a give and take. In a robot-human relationship, there is only take. Between married couples, they find joy in one another. Why? Because through the process of maturity and growth, they have learned one another’s needs and desires, and they seek to mutually satisfy each other. It is not done out of compulsion, or reluctantly, but freely given, for the joy of seeing his or her spouse receive joy.
Not so with robotic companions, who neither experience joy, nor truly learn what their human counterpart really wants, because they can’t possibly understand the human being. I fear that many people will get sucked into this rabbit hole of self-satisfaction only to find themselves staring into emptiness. The robot cannot love you back. It has no free will, and can only give because it is commanded to give. It might be fun for a while, but like all sin, the pain of its consequences far outweighs the pleasure of the moment.
Our relationship with God is similar. Though we are not gods, we are made in His image, and I believe it to be in this particular way, the only way that matters, in that we are independent beings. We have free will. And in this, God would rather have us freely choose to love Him and give to Him, than like mindless robots, we give because we are ordered to. God would rather win us over than order us into submission.
God loves you. He wants to be with you at all times. But He wants you to choose Him. He has expressed His love for us in ways that far surpass flowers and candy. He sent us His own Son, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), Ro 5:8.
Do you love Him back?
Lord today my heart is darkened with sin. I struggle even to remember who I am today, that I am a child of God. Because You have called me, the One who has given so much for me, who has provided ample evidence of Your love for me, I love you. I cannot help it. Remind today of that love, of the height, width, breadth and depth of that love. Remind me that nothing in this world will ever prevent it. Remind me I pray that my choice is sure, that my Rock stands. That in all I need and want, You are at the center of my being. Remind of Your love again today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.