Without (Fill in the Blank) Life would not be Worth Living

When I was dating, I connected with an old friend at a high school reunion. He invited me to participate in a program at his church called Inside Out.  The foundation of the program was, as Christians, we change from the inside out.

There was an awesome pastor teaching the class. One of the first exercises that he had us do was to fill in the blank of this statement. “Without ___________________ life would not be worth living.”

I was peaking over my friend’s shoulder hoping that he would write – Without “Jackie” life would not be worth living…. Just being honest. But instead, he wrote the word – health.

This was understandable. My friend’s father had died of a heart attack at the age of 54 and my friend was 48. He was taking medication for high blood pressure and for high cholesterol, even though, physically, he was in good shape. Heart disease had taken the life of many of his uncles too.

I wrote the word love. Without love, live wouldn’t be worth living.

We were encouraged to share what we wrote with the rest of the class. Some of the answers were surprising and funny. The room was buzzing with everyone talking.

The pastor called the room to order and we continued with the lesson. That’s when he said, “If you wrote anything in that blank other than God, that is what you worship.”

There was a hush over the room. Wow! I thought that love was a very acceptable answer. But I really meant the romantic, husband/wife forever love.  What I realized was that I wanted to be loved so desperately, that I worshipped the concept of love more than God’s love or God.

That night I went home and cried. I told God that I didn’t trust him. I  wanted love so badly that I was trying to control my relationships. I was seeking love from others and not from God.

Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-39: “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.’ “All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This one sentence with the ‘fill in the blank’ made me stop and think, “How intimate was my relationship with God?”

After that night, I began to love God first and foremost. So, if you were asked this question, how would you answer?

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