2,768 steps -- that's all it takes to get to the top of "The Incline". (In addition to all detours you take trying to get into the shade.) The best thing about this popular tourist destination is you can see the top (or at least what you think is the top) the whole way. As we hiked, I kept singing about heaven because that is our ultimate goal in life. And just like our journey to heaven:
-- The Incline is a journey of faith -- we trust the mapmakers or in the case of heaven, the Mapmaker.
-- The stairs are steep and it's hard even for those most prepared.
-- People get discouraged, detoured, and distracted. A large percentage who start hiking, never make the summit.
-- You can't see every step on the pathway to the top. You only know where you are planning to end up.
-- And there are lots of surprises! (Like being told once you make it to the top it's 4 1/2 miles to make it back to your car!)
Cue the music and the lights and ACTION! The leading man drops to his knee and proposes marriage to his woman. How romantically sweet and sappy! And yet still a moving, beautiful expression of dedicated, exclusive love, but as I heard his profession it seemed his words rang empty. Because regardless of how wonderful he is, how much he desires to protect her, care for her, love her, and make her happy: he can't. And even standing before the altar and the pastor, they never addressed the fact that no matter how sincere and how great a person is, they can't keep a promise to love selflessly.
Only God can.
Our culture likes to put a significant other, a great job or hobby, or an amusement in the place of honor in our lives to reign as "king" and be the reason for living. But if anything or anyone other than Christ sits on the throne of your life, it is UNWORTHY. And the result of an unworthy regent results in divorce, bitterness, disillusionment, broken relationships, lust, fear, suicide, forgiveness, church shopping and job hopping.
There is only one rightful King. His name is Jesus.
So what is God's love language?
Words of affirmation? Yes.
Time together? Yes.
Is that fair? To want love in every way humans can display love? Yes.
God has an all-encompassing term for this kind of love. He has clearly told us what His "love language" is.
God's love language is obedience. Obedience in word, in sacrifice, with our bodies and our time. Obedience with our lives, for a lifetime, that's God's love language.
"If you love me, keep My commandments." -- John 14:15
The night before He went to the cross, the Savior of the world stood up from the head of the table. Wrapped in a towel, the King knelt before His subjects and washed their feet. The Teacher taught His students to serve in both word and deed (John 13). The Creator served His creation.
And it is our loving privilege to serve Him in return. As Joshua in the Old Testament and Anna in the New Testament (Luke 2:37) we serve the Lord with prayer and fasting. As the Christians throughout the world and during all times, when we feed or clothe or comfort the least of these, we serve Christ (Matthew 25). And as the apostles, when we disciple, teach, and study, we are pouring out our service to the Servant King (Philippians 2:17).
One of the great beauties of the Scripture is that it is an invitation to spend time with God, learning about Him, and being instructed by Him. Even before Christ, the commands of God's Word are structured with our relationship in mind.
The fourth of the ten commandments is a command to spend time with God. One day in seven is holy, the world and things of the world are to be set aside in favor of God and His things. David speaks of rising early, even in the middle of the night, to seek the presence of God (Psalm 119:148). Jesus follows this example in times of isolated prayer and communion with God (Mark 1:35).
And we are invited into this intimate fellowship with God today, to spend time with our Lord and Savior.
"Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!" -- Song of Solomon 2:13
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.