“Would you follow God if there was no hell?”
Someone asked me that a few years ago, and my immediate reaction was, “Of course I would.”
If he had asked me that when I was younger, I doubt I would have answered with such certainty. Back then, my relationship with God was more confused. We would have said God was loving, but only for those who did everything he wanted. But whoever did that?
His holiness was his most terrifying feature, and the best reason I was given to follow him was my fear of the consequences if I didn’t. Threatened with eternity in flames was all the motivation I needed to do everything I thought required to stay in his good graces. More than anything, I wanted God to like me, protect me, and bless me.
Looking back now, I realize I was not in an endearing relationship with my Creator as a beloved son. I was caught in the Stockholm syndrome with God; like the victim of a kidnapping, I sought to ingratiate myself to the one I feared, confusing that with love.
For the past twenty-five years, however, I’ve come to rely on his love. It has made all the difference. God never wanted our indentured servitude but to share his life with his grateful children.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
Romans 8:15 (NASRE)
This reflection is taken from Wayne Jacobsen’s new book, Live Loved Free Full. Since the delivery of the print edition was delayed due to COVID issues in production, we are posting daily here until it is available. The e-book is already out on Kindle if you prefer that version. If you haven’t pre-ordered your hardback copy yet, you can do so here.
3 thoughts on “Why Follow After God?”
Your journey (deep dive) with all its cost to you, into this reality has changed my life.
I have greatly appreciated this devotional book. The love of the Father pours out through your words and I sure need that. To often when things are not going good or the presence of Jesus seems very distant, I get caught up in what did I do or having to do better. This seems to happen without even thinking about it consciously. Even after reading all your love filled devotionals, I still find myself falling into that trap. I need to catch myself sooner when I think that way and instead of striving rather just rest in his complete love. Thanks for all the love you are pouring into your writing. Marvin Enns
I would follow God were there No afterlife at all because of the difference He has made in my life here and now. I was raised to fear Him also, not in the respectful awe that He deserves, but in the terror of an allknowing, allseeing, vengeful guard dog of the church. Though I see now why they did it, it took years after leaving organized religion to get beyond the manipulation and begin to see Him as He is. Once that happens, no coercion or threat is needed. I am amazed at His Love, creative imagination, and attention to detail. The fact He would notice and care for me is more mindblowing now than it was 40 years ago when He rescued me from the path of self destruction I was on
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