In following God, there is a tension everyone deals with: Allowing the everyday pleasures and desires in the world to move us away from experiencing the love God has for us. This is a real challenge because the needs, opportunities, and demands of the world are a constant everyday reality. God often gets marginalized or eliminated in our time, thinking, and community.
In the Bible the following is written in the book of 1 John 2:15-16: 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. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, interprets this passage as the world squeezing out the love of God in our lives.
Any of us following God don’t get up in the morning saying, “I want my love for God squeezed out of my life today.” The truth is, we have a desire for a deeper presence of God and His love in our lives moment by moment.
A practical question emerges: What can I do to keep God and His love the priority of my life? Here are a few recommendations:
- Spend time with God: Love in any relationship is best nurtured and safeguarded by spending time together. The same is true with God. Explore ways of spending time with God that work for you.
- Talk and listen to God: The nature of prayer is dialogue – talking and listening. The apostle Paul encourages us to pray all the time. What he is saying is keep the communication going all day long.
- Give generously: Giving is the best antidote to falling in love with our own stuff. Giving helps others, and it has the benefit of not letting us grip too tightly to things.
- Read the Bible: God’s Word has life-giving truth and perspective that help keep us moving the right way with God and guarding against getting lost in the world.
- Live in community: Be involved in a community of people who are also followers of Jesus. Encourage each other and support each other.
The Warm Beach Camp experience is all about drawing people closer to God in a world that squeezes out God’s love. The next time you come, experience a deeper connection with God and His love.
Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center