THE DEEPEST LOVE
When Casting Crowns made its first record and began touring, we started performing at large festivals. Suddenly, I went from being onstage in my churchΓÇÖs gym on Wednesday nights to singing at the same events with artists like Toby Mac.
I had one thought: ΓÇ£What am I doing on the same stage? HeΓÇÖs got dancers and trampolines, and IΓÇÖm a middle-aged student pastor with a Stars Wars T-shirt and nothing else up here. IΓÇÖm not cool. I wasnΓÇÖt cool when I was young enough to be cool, and now IΓÇÖm up here in front of 20,000 people.ΓÇ¥
Even today it gets to me when I have to sing alongside other artists who are better in pretty much every way. ItΓÇÖs usually not until the middle of the first song that I remember, ΓÇ£Oh, yeah, IΓÇÖm just supposed to be myself here. IΓÇÖm supposed to do what I do.ΓÇ¥ And what I do in the moments I share from the stage amounts to loving my Jesus, showing my scars, and telling my story.
Loving my Jesus comes first. We love on Jesus anytime we make much of himΓÇöanytime we decrease so he will increase. (John 3:30)
The deepest form of love is to sacrifice for someone, to spend time with someone. This is why loving on Jesus means digging deep into GodΓÇÖs Word every day to get to know him more, letting God tell me whom he is, whom I was before I knew him, and whom I am now that IΓÇÖm in him. I constantly need to be reminded of my permanent, fixed identity.
It seems that IΓÇÖm always taking my eyes off of Jesus and looking down at the waves around me or comparing myself to people around me. I need to be reminded to stop sizing up people and thinking IΓÇÖm the slow one in the room and that IΓÇÖm the weak linkΓÇöand even questioning how God could possibly ever use me in this situation.
The more IΓÇÖm in the Word, the more God shows me he uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong and the foolish things to shame the wise. He filled the Bible full of people who had no other choice but to depend on him (Those accounts are their stories, by the way. Everyone has a story).
When I get out of the Word, itΓÇÖs identical to Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus as he walked on water. (Matthew 14:22-33) The moment IΓÇÖm out of the Word, my eyes are on my situation instead of on him. So I really have to guard that time with him. I have to remember to keep on loving my Jesus.