Love as Obligation vs. Obsession

Kingdom Principle: To be in the Kingdom is to experience love with the King

The Gospel of the Kingdom is Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy with the King.

Acts 10:44-48 Psalm 98 1 John 5:1-6 John 15:9-17

Jesus did not speak His own words, but the words that the Father gave Him (John 8:38-42; 12:49-50; 14:24). His message was not primarily about Himself, but rather the good news that the Father ordained to be announced on earth. While Jesus Christ was by far the most important individual ever to walk this earth, the Bible shows clearly that the gospel that Jesus brought was not simply about Himself. We can go so far as to say that Jesus was obsessed with the Father – what he did, what he said, what he desired – was the only they Jesus did, said and desired. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God not out of obedience, but rather obsession: (see Scriptures below) Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God, but some how that message has changed into the good news of obligation: the gospel of getting out of Hell, the gospel of this world has nothing to offer me, the gospel of the church, the gospel of good works, the gospel of health and wealth. Jesus’ obsession with the Father is the means by which the Gospel of the Kingdom is brought to us.

In this same way – being loved by God is not the end, it is the means by which love is spread to the world. The command we are given by Jesus is to love others… and by doing so we remain in the Fathers love. This is to be our obsession, not obligation. In this way obeying commands no longer even becomes measured as a “to do” – rather it is a “ta da”. It is easy to make the Gospel of the Kingdom all about Jesus, in the same way that it is easy to make Christianity all about God’s love. But neither is correct…. Christians are to experience the Kingdom and to express God’s love. This experience and expression is modeled by the relationship Jesus has with the Father. So the point is not simply to “have” Jesus or the Father, it is to express and fully experience the same relationship that Jesus has with the Father. This relationship of obsession is grounded in three words: intimacy, fecundity & ecstasy.

I have chosen these words (with great assistance from Henri Nouwen) because they are not words that we use to describe our everyday life in this world. Trying to define the Kingdom is difficult because it is not of this world. In the Gospels, Jesus often referred to the Kingdom in parables, which initiated a paradigm shift. In this blog we have demonstrated there is more than one Kingdom; where the edge of the Kingdom is; we have established the foundation of the Kingdom and that Jesus as King rules and reigns over the Kingdom as well as who can enter and how to enter the Kingdom. And yet all the above does not address the relationship of being in the Kingdom. It has been declared that love is the only constant of the Kingdom, and here we will address the experience and obsession of love – again as – Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy.

Love expressed outwardly is obedience, but as we looked at last week – actions outwardly can have very different motivations inwardly. We must find the experience of obsession to experience the transformation of our motivations. We see this in the Acts passage; the circumcised believers were astonished at the indiscriminate work of the Holy Spirit…. How did their view of these Gentiles change after they saw the Holy Spirit poured out on Gentiles?… this is the pinnacle of a paradigm shift (movement from obligation to obsession) takes place in the Kingdom. When this shift takes place… we are changed, not only in our actions and behavior, but more importantly inwardly and emotionally. The “Jewish/circumcised” believers were now emotionally engaged with these Gentiles very differently than they were before. How is this?   Love took hold of them in a deeper more real way that before.

Being loved – moves you into intimacy with God and others

Intimacy is possible when obstacles and objections are overcome… in a sense the space between us and others is made pure and holy. This presence and gift of holiness of God, makes love for others a real potential.   This cleansing is a spiritual reality that must take place prior to a physical connection can be made. This intimacy is the flow of love being shared through vulnerability and brokenness. God become vulnerable and broken to us in Jesus. Therefore, for us to love others, we must first be vulnerable and broken before God moving us into intimacy with him.

Being loved – moves you into fecundity with God and others

Fecundity is an expression that demonstrates unrestrained or uncontainable reproduction and multiplication. Obsession leads to fecundate fruitfulness, obedience results in calculated production. Fecundity is not measurable, it is more fertile than the reproduction of rabbits…. A sampling of fecundity is captured when a parent has a second child, and wonders how they can possible love this child as much as the first, only to discover a multiplication of love for both children. The second child has the same love if not more than the first, while the love for the first grows as well. This abundance is to be giving not only to “our” children, but to all God’s children. By being touched by a fecundate work, is to be touched by a virus or germ to which there is not vaccination.

Being loved – moves you into ecstasy with God and others

Ecstasy is a word we have lost to secular drug use and New Age radicalism. Ecstasy describes our ability to get “lost” or to lose ourselves in the messy mission of the Kingdom. Being under control is the opposite experience of ecstasy, and yet ecstasy is not being out of control, rather it is enjoying a freedom trusting in the control of the King. It is tasted when one rides a roller coaster for the first time, wondering if their life is going to end, trusting it is not, but feeling being pressed to the edge at its greatest extreme. It is an obsession to ride this coaster of love with the King. This freedom in turn en-flames our faith, which increases our intimacy… and the cycle continues.

  1. Have you ever considered your relationship with God obsessive? If not, how might this redefine the word for you?
  2. How do you think life in the Kingdom is different based on obligation verses obsession?
  3. Which do you prefer?
  • Below are verses the demonstrate Jesus proclamation of the Kingdom…
  • And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
  • And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)
  • Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
  • Jesus] said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:43)
  • Now it came to pass, afterward, that [Jesus] went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings [gospel] of the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:1)
  • The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:16-17)
  • And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

About chaplaincasey

In my Community I am a Chaplain, Coach and Catalyst.
This entry was posted in Easter, Year B and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Love as Obligation vs. Obsession

  1. Pingback: Not happy with Pres. canidates? Choose a King! | confrontingchaos

  2. Pingback: Choosing Cancer… | confrontingchaos

  3. Pingback: Exchange love to love change | confrontingchaos

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