It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Apologies for keeping you waiting. Now that we’re here, it seems fitting that this post is inspired by the 1998 Lauryn Hill song, Ex-Factor—from the legendary album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
In my last post, we explored the love language(s) God communicates in (and we should communicate with Him in). This time we’re going to explore a love story.
The song Ex-Factor isn’t quite the romance any of us truly desires to have. This is more of an it’s complicated/situation-ship saga. Regardless of our track record or current relationship status, many of us fancy ourselves relationship experts. Often, it seems those who should be doing the most listening are actually the ones doing the most talking. Nonetheless, this song paints the picture of a relationship that most of us would rather not find ourselves on the non-reciprocated end of.
While discussing one aspect of a recently publicized relationship whoa with a friend, this song came up. And in our conversation we discovered that the lyrics of this song sound a lot like a song God might sing over us. Now, I’m only using a sampling of the lyrics from this song, mostly because these lyrics are written from the human experience. There are some things God wouldn’t say, because—well—He’s God.
It Could All Be So Simple
“It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars”
Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3). Adam could have covered Eve’s sin, but that’s a different relationship topic for another time. Once sin entered the world, everyone after Adam and Eve were born into sin. Now, from birth, we’re all…..naughty by nature.
We all sin—and until we accept the free gift of forgiveness and salvation, through Jesus Christ, we remain sinners. Once we accept salvation, we’re saved! We are no longer defined by our sin; no longer slaves (Romans 6:5-7). Even though humankind has messed up and gone outside of God’s original design for us, He’s actually made it quite simple for us to be reunited with Him.
It could be so simple, but we’re the ones who make it hard. Rather than seeing what God has made plain to us, in all creation, we complicate things by insisting we know better. We question God. We question the Bible. We question the origins of the Christian faith. And then, rather than being silent and listening for answers, we make answers up. Every day we stray further from God’s design.
Loving us is like a battle that results in scars for both of us: me/you and God. Jesus (who is fully God) endured death and rose from the grave with scars. Scars where we drove the nails. Scars where we whipped Him. Scars where the thorns from the crown placed on His head broke His skin. A scar where we pierced His side.
Yet, as if the violence our sin perpetuated on Jesus wasn’t enough, we still insist on viewing things and doing things our own way. Of course, when we go our own way, we stumble, we fall, we bang our heads against the walls we’ve built. We trip over stumbling blocks we chose not to move (or simply go around). We break our legs trying to kick down doors God did not open—we dislocate our shoulders trying to bust down the doors He closed…
…so we both end up with scars.
“Is this just a silly game
That forces you to act this way?
Forces you to scream my name
Then pretend that you can’t stay”
Now, I know Sister Lauryn was talking about something else in this ‘scream my name’ line, but walk with me a bit more lol
What is this way we act? This silly game we play? Well, for some us, it’s the way we church (used as a verb). In the midst of a worship service, convocation, or midnight musical, we will holler, shout, and scream the name of Jesus …then walk out of there living like we never heard of Him.
There are a lot of people under the age of 40 who grew up in church, then—once they were grown, determined never to go back. Many of us saw too much of this screaming God’s name, then leaving and doing all the things the Sunday school teach clearly said we shouldn’t be doing. Jesus said,
Luke 6:46-49 |“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
It’s the destruction for me. The English Standard Version says “…the ruin of that house was great.” Even better, the New Living Translation puts it this way: “…that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Sheesh!
The other screaming of God’s name we do is when we’re in distress. We done made some awful choices, went left when the Spirit said right. Mishandled a relationship… or got into a relationship we shouldn’t have been in in the first place. And so we clean out our prayer closets, dust off our Bibles and crack open the book of Psalms. Then we begin to cry aloud unto The Lord our God lol
We swear we’re gonna change. Promise to go to church (watch live in 2020). God fixes it—then we pretend like we can’t stay. “Bye, God. See ya!”
“Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity”
What more does God have to do to get our full commitment? After all we’ve seen Him do for others and for us, why do we still doubt Him? Why do we still operate parts of our lives in direct opposition to His Word? Why can’t we just love God back …in the love languages He asks us to?
“Give to me, give to me
Why won’t you live for me?”
God created us and gave us life. He just wants us to give the lives He gave us back to Him.
We all have gone looking for love in all the wrong places. None of us even loves ourselves well enough to consistently do things by design. In the end, this is the love story we truly long for and chase after. Our relationship with God is the type of romance we truly desire to have.
God looks at each of us and says…
“No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will”
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.