As with so many things in our lives, maybe the reason that we want to make faith hard is because someone made it hard for us.
Too many of today's Christians came of age in a teaching where God cared much more about what you do, how you live, what you profess than He did about your heart. He was more interested in your behavior than your being. Maybe you grew up in a faith that was all about what you do here, and maybe that's made it hard for you to just be loved by God.
And if you can't just be loved by God, then of course you don't want anyone else to just be loved by God. If you have to work for it, they should have to work for it. If God cares what you do, certainly He cares what they do.
It can't be just you who walks a thin line with God. If you're tiptoeing through your faith, then everyone else should have to, too.
That's how we got to where we are. Somewhere in the history of the church, something switched, and the Christian faith became more about what we do for God than about what He does for us. Or even what He's done for us. We focus first on what we are able to put into it, and then whatever we get out of it either confirms or denies for us that we are doing it 'right.' We've taken God's command that we love one another as the greatest statement of His desire, forgetting what it means that we love because He first loved us.
Maybe that's why we don't love one another as well these days. Because we do not first feel loved ourselves.
Everything you want in this world, you have to work for. The contents of your dreams do not just fall into your lap from the heavens. You earn what you've got. But God is not this world, and God doesn't work that way. God loved you before you ever loved Him, before you ever wrapped your mind around His very existence.
God still loves you.
I wish more of us knew that. I wish more of us could let that just be the truth that it is - for us and for everyone else.
The foundation of this whole Christian journey we're on is not faith; it's love. It's God's love for us and because of that, our love for Him, and because of that, our love for one another. It's love upon love upon love upon love forever and unto eternity. And most of us are missing out on that because we're missing the most foundational piece of it - what it means, what it feels like, how it shapes our lives, to be loved by God. Because we're so afraid to say that wherever we are, whatever we're doing, whatever's happening might just be because God wants to love us here and now. Because we're always looking for our next thing to do and not the next thing God is doing, which is also the last thing God was doing and the thing God is doing now - loving. Any time you set your eyes on God, that's what you're going to find Him doing - loving. We've got to stop being afraid, or ashamed, of that and just lean into it.
For if we love because He first loved us, then how can we ever love at all if we never let Him love us?