Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

An Incredible Lover

I once had a college professor who would regularly descend into self-interested monologues rather than delivering the content of the course (of course, which one didn’t, right?).  One time, he told us that one of his primary goals as a parent was to help his son become an incredible lover.  This professor was rather impressed by his own sexual prowess and thought his son should be instructed to carry on the legacy.

I know you are probably curious about exactly how he planned to do that, but we were all too creeped out to ask any follow-up questions.  I’m afraid his mentoring strategy will have to remain a secret, but if it makes you feel any better, I don’t think he was a deviant – just odd.

I was reminded of that day in class as I was reading The Purpose Driven Life with my oldest son the other day.  Chapter 16 is “What Matters Most,” and it starts with the sentence, “Life is all about love.”  Rick Warren points out that all the Ten Commandments are about love (the first four about loving God; the last six about loving your neighbor), and he draws from Paul’s writings to emphasize that anything we do without love is worthless.

Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do but how much love you put into it that matters,” and the longer I live, the more convinced of this I am.  All my other motives are self-serving, and I know that the things I do for myself are their own reward.  There will be no treasure stored up in heaven for me as a result of the things I do for myself – only for those things I lovingly do for God or for my neighbor.

So I find myself in the very strange position of having the exact same parenting goal as my Don Juan professor – only we are using different meanings of the word lover.  I can think of no better instruction and wisdom to pass along to my children than to help them become incredible lovers – lovers of God and lovers of their neighbors.

Incidentally, I shared this story with my son.  (I enjoy the shock value.)  He was sufficiently grossed out by the professor, and I told him he had no need to worry.  I wasn’t going to be sharing any gritty details about my love life with him – he’ll have to buy the book like everyone else.


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Filed under agape love, christianity, family, Goals, love, parenting, Relationships, sex, unconditional love

After the Mountain-top

I’m just returning from summer camp this year. Every year for the past ten years, I’ve gone to Texas in either June or July to participate in a camp for abused and neglected children. It’s always a mountain-top experience for me. I feel more focused, more attuned with God during the days and weeks leading up to camp and during the week of camp. My quiet times are great. I don’t struggle as much with sin. I hear God speaking to my heart clearly and unmistakably.

But after camp, I typically experience a letdown, a spiritual time of randomness. I may go for days or even weeks without spending quality time with the Lord. I fall into sinful patterns that I thought I had licked. I feel guilty and unfocused – spiritually lethargic. Why does this happen?

I think it has much to do with not having a specific goal on which to attach my spiritual disciplines. Before camp, everything is focused on getting my heart ready to minister to the kids. After camp, I lose my motivation. It’s not that I believe the spiritual disciplines are only worth doing in preparation for an event, but I just find it easier to do them when I’ve got my eyes on a goal. I have more energy to do them. I have more delight in doing them.

Another reason coming off the mountain is so difficult is because I put every ounce of energy into the mountaintop. When it’s over, I am physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I think my spirit is still full of energy, but it gets trumped by my lack of resources in other areas. After camp, I go into a bit of a walking coma until my resources are replenished.

I think this pattern is mirrored in Scripture:

  • Moses spent a month and a half communing with God on Mount Sinai and getting the ten commandments on stone tablets, but when he descended the mountain to rejoin the Israelites, he found that his brother had opened an idol-worshiping night club.
  • Elijah showed up the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah in an old-fashioned show-down on top of Mount Carmel.  Then, he accurately predicted the weather (the greatest miracle in all the Bible), but he didn’t get much time to celebrate.  Jezebel took out a contract on his life, and Elijah became so discouraged that he prayed God would end his meteorologist career.

  • Jesus peeled back His humanity to reveal a glimpse of His glory to Peter, James and John on a mountain.  They had to be stoked coming back down.  They had been arguing with the others about who was the greatest, and now it looked like Jesus had tipped His hat in their direction.  But when they reached the bottom, everything was chaos.  The disciples had been trying unsuccessfully to cast a demon out of a boy, and Jesus had to step in to clean up their mess.  Goodbye spiritual high.  Hello real world!

The time on the mountain is a blessing.  God allows us to participate in His work, and He teaches us many things while we are with Him there.  It’s easy to completely spend ourselves in the experience, but it’s unwise, because when we are done on the mountain, we have to return to the valley.  God teaches us on top of the mountain and then tests us in the valley.  He wants to know if we can use what we’ve learned.

In the valley, God’s tests move what He’s taught us from our heads to our hearts.  When the lessons are only in our heads, the Enemy will come and try to snatch them away (like the bird in the Parable of the Sower).  But through the testing, God can plant them deeply in our hearts, where they will grow and produce an abundant harvest.  If we anticipate the Enemy’s attempt to steal our seeds and save some fight for this test, we will be much better prepared to leave the mountain-top.

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Filed under Challenges, christianity, expectations, overcoming obstacles, Religion, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality