"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37,38).
From 1994 to 2001, I went through what I call my "Joseph Pit" experience. It was during this time of great adversity and great growth that I wrote TGIF Today God Is First and also birthed many of the things I am doing today. During this season, I discovered a spiritual truth about how most believers experience three distinct phases of their growth toward obedience in their Christian walks.
When we first begin our spiritual journey we often make decisions from convenience. Often, we decide what the outcome is that we want and then make decisions based on the perceived outcome. If it is a positive outcome, then we will make an obedient decision. I call this outcome-based obedience.
However, God desires that each of us live an Obedience-based life. In order to transition us from an outcome-based process to an obedience-based process, he will bring a crisis into our lives. This crisis is designed to create pain which motivates us to seek Him to alleviate the pain. We have all heard of "fox-hole" Christianity. There is place of obedience for everyone! However, this is not where God desires us to remain.
Ultimately, God desires us to live a life of obedience and intimacy rooted in conviction. We obey His commands from a heart of love and devotion. During the crisis phase we discover the personal love of God in our lives which we had never experienced before. Most of us will get to this phase of our walk with God by first living a life of convenience, then we will go through the crisis that will them lead us into an intimate love relationship with God.
The Christian life can be summed up in one word-love. God's desire for each of us is to know Him intimately and to love Him with all of our heart. Have you told your Heavenly Father you love Him today?