How To Love God?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by God_be_with_you, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Loving God has been tough for me for many years now, despite my best attempts and prayers. I tend to feel like blaming God for the horrors in the world, and even the horrors that I observe within the animal kingdom. Sometimes I'll see something gruesome in nature and think to myself "why would God create something like this, or even more importantly, what does the existence of such say about it's creator?". I wish to serve God to the best of my ability, but this problem is hindering me quite a bit. How can I look past this?

    Not trying to spark an explosive conversation, just looking for some guidance and words of encouragement...
  2. Just curious, and am serious .... although somehow related to the question…

    Do you eat animal meat such as pork, chicken, beef?
  3. What do you think about God giving us free will? What does that mean to you?
  4. I think that's a good question, God_be_with_you. In other words "If God is who we are to understand He is (IE, all loving, all caring, etc)."

    Because He is all of these things, these elements are extended to our souls. But beyond that, He is also an all free God, and He granted free will to each of us.

    The cases for the animal kingdom isn't as trivial as discussing humanity (or maybe it is--I don't know). However, when we use our free will against the will of God (IE, abuses, lying, killing, cheating, etc.), we aren't practicing extensions of God, we are practicing actions that lack His goodness.

    Maybe my answer was too simple. Regarding the animal kingdom, I can only direct you to this...


    ...Just kidding.
  5. Jesus tells us how to love him.

    (John 14: 23) “Anyone who loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him.”
  6. Hi Aha! I eat all three....
  7. Hello RiverJordan! This may seem strange but for the most part, I don't believe in free will (although I'm always willing to admit that I might be mistaken).

    I believe that we are all controlled by factors in our life, such as genetics, religious beliefs, established habits, conscience based feelings, and most importantly, perception. I believe that when we make a choice (no matter how large or small), we weigh all of the options that we are able to perceive, and our life factors all weigh upon each option. The choice with the most factor weight is the one that wins, every single time. If our scales are evenly balanced by opposing forces, we become immobilized and are unable to take action at all, and inaction becomes our choice.

    I believe that if someone were to clone someone at birth, and raise the two children in separate homes (say, one adopted by a pastor, the other adopted by a mafia family), they would grow up to be very different people, even though they are essentially the same person. It's impossible to tell how they would turn out, but I assume that it is safe to say that they would be radically different; in which case they would often make different choices than the other one.

    In all fairness, I will agree that just because I have never observed choice devoid of self serving motives, I cannot say with certainty that truly selfless choice does not exist. Perhaps there is part of us that does allow us to make free choices. My perception may also be distorted.

    Are there any Bible verses that you are aware of that may challenge my viewpoint? I would be very interested in reading it.

    You asked me what free will means to me.....

    Unfortunately, because of my beliefs on free will (or the lack thereof), I find it very difficult to trust God. I suspect that if I am correct about the lack of free will, it seems to indicate that God will send to Hell forever those people who's life's factors never allowed them to accept Jesus, and I wonder how merciful and graceful God could really be if I'm right. But then again, I am human, and my logic is flawed.

    RiverJordan, I am very interested in your opinion. What do you think about all this?

    Oftentimes, this viewpoint of mine can be quite offensive to some people. I apologize if I have caused that effect on anyone...
  8. Hello LysanderShapiro! I agree with you about good and evil actions.

    Nice touch with the Circle of Life! I like it!
  9. Hi Giver! That is a great verse to apply to my situation. Do you believe that the verse is saying that if you follow God's commandments, a love for him will manifest eventually?
  10. Yes!
  11. Why thank you ;)

    And welcome!
    God_be_with_you likes this.
  12. I don't disagree with that actually, although I wouldn't say we are "controlled" by them as much as they are "influences". Our natural traits, beliefs, culture, feelings, and perceptions are who we are, but that doesn't mean we don't make genuine choices, does it?

    But the key is, we actually make a choice rather than just being some sort of software code that evaluates inputs and spits out the same output without variability.

    That's interesting. I have a cousin who is the oldest of three siblings. She was actually fathered by a different man than the other two, but never knew it (the father & mother never married and he never had anything to do with them). Her mom married another man, "Joe", right after my cousin was born. Joe fathered the two younger children. Let's just say "Joe" wasn't exactly the brightest of guys and was prone to making ridiculously stupid decisions. But as far as my cousin knew, Joe was her father. It's all she ever knew.

    But she was always very, very different than her siblings. She is smart and inquisitive, whereas her siblings were rather dim and slow. She used to tell me that she always felt "different" somehow, but couldn't put her finger on it. As adults, the three of them couldn't be more different. The two fathered by Joe are poor, in and out of trouble, usually unemployed, and keep dumping their kids off on their mom. The oldest OTOH is a professional Christian counselor with a masters degree. She's unbelievably successful.

    All three of them were raised in the exact same environment, with the exact same parenting. Yet the oldest is about as different as she can be.

    There have been a lot of studies that show the strong role genetics can play in various factors, and intelligence is one with one of the biggest effects.

    It must be, because I see people make selfless choices all the time. History is full of examples of people sacrificing their own well-being (and even their lives) for other people or things.

    I'm not aware of any that speak directly to what you're talking about, other than a handful of OT passages that say that God "determines our steps". Most of the lessons on this stem from the inferences we draw from some of the stories. Big question-wise, if you think we don't have true free will, how then are we accountable for our actions?

    If a person was truly unable to accept Jesus, do you think God would realize that?
  13. @ God Be With You:

    Short answer to your question: love God by obeying Him.
  14. #14 KingJ, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
    Opinions and assumptions make me so sick. We just had a deep thread on a similar issue with a ''bad God''. Judge God according to scripture, NO opinions or assumptions!! That is the starting point!! ;). Yes God destroyed many (after many warnings), but He also gave us our life and died for us all. Look closely at Matt 4:1-11. Notice how the devil quotes one scripture ignoring others. Jesus says to him ''it is also written''. Hence whenever I hear someone say God is evil without judging Him properly / quoting all scripture. I can be forgiven for saying they are of their father the devil, surely? At the same time whenever someone removes scripture they are defying 2 Tim 3:16 and are playing with fire because of Rev 22:18-19. Christians are guided through scripture by the Holy Spirit.

    Christianity 101 is becoming 100% confident that scripture is the word of God.

    The devil wants us to keep our heads in the ground, live by assumptions and discredit scripture as it points to Jesus and is one with Him John 1:1. God wants us to face reality and ask Him any question we want. If we are worshippers of God He will hear our prayers (John 9:31) and be able to by the Spirit reveal the answers to us through scripture / His word. If you have specific questions on the horrors by God, fire away. But I beg you to first try judge / read it all for context / pray on it properly before just asking. Perhaps then state ''I had this problem with God'' but ''because of this'' God is judged as good'' would you agree?

    Regarding loving God. The ball is in your court!! You must realize this!! How much does God love you? John 15:13 says giving your life is the greatest act of love that exists. So we know God loves us as much as is possible and then some (as we were the sinners who crucified Him). Depth of love is shown by actions. There is no hiding from that. Hence there is scripture like James 1:27. Many need to feel and touch God to love Him. But God is not brain dead. He knows those who draw near to Him. James 4:8 and John 4:24 are needed for John 10:27.
  15. #15 KingJ, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
    Just regarding free will.

    God is omnipotent / sovereign (Psalm 139:7-16) + God is Creator (Col 1:16) + God is good (Psalms 136:1) + God is impartial (Acts 10:34, James 2) = Free will.

    Anyone who says we don't have free will adds their assumptions into the mix. Example, God is sovereign + creator + bad (assumption) + partial (assumption) = No free will. I say 'bad and partial' because hell exists and any person with more then a peanut for a brain knows that if God made any for hell, God is bad.
  16. #16 KingJ, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
    God is just! Just = Everyone has an equal and fair opportunity! We who live after the cross don't have the 'secret gospel' / we are not 'special'. Jesus = God. God has reached out to all from Adam to now. It's just that for us living today, when God reaches out to us, He reveals Jesus to us. All who accepted God before the death of Jesus went to Abrahams bosom. Think of Nineveh. A non-Jewish city that Jonah visited. The three wise men were not Jews. There are many more examples. The bottom line is, seek God by doing those things that please Him, no matter what religion you are...its just a matter of time before you meet Jesus. Think of how scripture says Abraham and David were men after His own heart.

    You can deduce this another way. Scripture says that we look through a glass darkly now. But in heaven we will see clearly. Hence...God has got nothing to hide. We will be able to judge God much better / harsher when not seeing through a glass darkly. If God is to blame for being ''unjust'' when scripture says He is just or ''bad'' when scripture says He is good...there will be a fall-out in heaven. Though I am willing to bet my life on the fact that scripture is true and that God holds Himself to it. As I know He did not excuse Himself from the ''wages of sin is death'' when He went to the cross.

    Don't forget the full Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. God loves us all and forever, even those who don't love Him and choose to go to hell. We have to trust God knows best and ..loves us all forever.
  17. Sorry that I haven't been able to reply the past few days, everyone. Been extremely busy, with only a moment here and there to spare. I'll be writing more detailed replies soon. God bless!
  18. Hi River Jordan. Sorry that it's taken me so long to reply. Been really overwhelmed by work and other stuff.

    You may be right. Allow me to pose an interesting scenario that I ponder quite often. If you and I were face to face, and I pull a quarter out of my pocket, then ask you to choose heads or tails, you would choose one of the two choices, naturally. Now here's my query: If after you made your choice, I pull out one of those nifty little sticks from Men in Black and erase your memory of the event (essentially resetting the factors), and then repeat the experiment one hundred times, would you make the same choice (heads or tails) a hundred times in a row, or would you make varied choices?

    I assume that if free will existed, it would allow you to make varied choices, even though the experiment is identical each time. I also assume that if you were to make the same choice one hundred times in a row, you would be controlled by the internal factor scales that I believe simulate free will. Interesting thought eh?

    You could very well be correct. There's no real way to know for sure, but it's interesting to theorize.

    I recall a real story of a crowd waiting for the subway train:
    A man had fallen on the subway tracks as the train approached, and another man jumped into the path of the train and saved the other man's life by pushing him down and staying low as the train passed inches above their heads.

    There's no doubt that this man is a hero. But why did he do it? Some would say that he was a good man, which gave him courage enough to do what had to be done to save his fellow man; but I think that there's more to it.

    I believe that he did it because he was compelled to by factors that made up his personality. I believe that people will always do what makes them the most comfortable in all facets of their personality. I think the decision in his head looked something like this:
    Reasons not to help:
    a) Desire to live
    b) Desire to consider family's needs
    c) Fear of pain, injury, or death

    Reasons to help
    a) Will be regarded as a hero, regardless of success or survival
    b) Could atone for previous bad actions
    c) May secure good afterlife
    d) May secure good reward if successful
    e) Will feel too guilty otherwise
    f) Important to do the right thing

    This is how my mind works at least. Every decision is like a math problem on a chalkboard to me, and even a split decision goes through the chalkboard before I can make a decision. Other people seem to think on a different level than I do, so perhaps it only seems to me like I don't have free will because of the peculiar way that I handle life.

    Sometimes I wonder if God simply keeps the good children and burns the bad ones, regardless of how much control those people had over their lives. I mean, how many people are going to burn in Hell simply because they never heard the good news of Jesus?

    I'm enjoying our conversation. I'm always interested in learning, and I can handle opposing viewpoints and challenges without taking offense. I hope you are enjoying it as much =)
  19. I agree with you KingJ. I realize that as a human, my perceptions are flawed, and that I can never see God clearly in this lifetime. I always try to remember not to give my assumptions too much weight, because nothing at all can be known without putting faith into it. I do my best to obey God because I realize that a Being that can put together such an intricate and complex universe that I can only begin to marvel at surely must be wiser and more intelligent than such a simple creature as myself. Therefore it's logical to trust said wisdom and intelligence over my own.

    There is one thing that I would like to question though (no criticism intended towards you, of course)...

    You mention that this principle applies no matter what religion you are. If you ask a Christian and a Muslim what God's will is, they will give you very different answers. So to clarify, are you saying that a Muslim who fervently seeks out Allah's will would eventually be drawn towards Jesus? Or are you trying to say something else entirely?

    Thank you for being so thorough in your replies by the way =)
  20. #20 KingJ, Nov 26, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    Definitely! The best way to witness to a Muslim is to tell them to be a better Muslim. More devout. More sincere. Put the flesh under more. Self sacrifice more. Being selfless is being after God's heart. The thick irony is simply that many appear to be selfless but are not!! Pushing them to be, makes them realize they are not so truly selfless ;). Jesus said it best in Matt 23. The Pharisees did well to obey the laws!!! but they ignored the beggar. They did their deeds to be seen by men. So whilst our eyes tell us their is selflessness with religious (any) folks, God sees selfishness. Jesus said ''their hearts were far from God''.

    Do selfless deeds, approve of selfless deeds and its just a matter of time before God, the King of selflessness pays a visit. Just look at Jesus's teachings. ''Turn the left cheek'', ''love your neighbour as yourself'', ''feed your enemy''. How can we do these things consistently unless there has been a change in our hearts? Before we meet God / Jesus our hearts are.... Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

    When we believe in and accept Jesus as Lord we are made new creations 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.

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