The next facet we’ll look at is something I’m going to call a bank shot. If you’ve ever shot a basketball, you’ve probably been told that if you bounce the ball off the square painted on the backboard, it will go in every time.
A similar concept applies in the quest to love God. One of the best ways to action-love God is to bounce that love off the people around you. Remember, the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself- and doing so is loving God. Bank shots are simple acts of kindness and love toward people. By “bouncing” that love off of people, you are ultimately loving God.
This way of loving God is very simple, and usually requires little effort. You simply need to get in the habit of going out of your way to love other people, even people you don’t know or people you don’t particularly like. Every time you hold the door open for somebody, or help carry something out to their car, or let them have the last cookie on the plate (ouch!), you’re bouncing love off them and giving it to God.
It’s so simple! Loving God can seem so abstract and so distant- how can we love someone that we can’t see or touch? But as we dig into His word, we find that He gives us innumerable examples of ways that we can love Him. He has handed us the key to loving Him- we simply have to apply it to our lives!
Now, though these bank shots may not be physically strenuous (usually), they are often quite difficult nonetheless. Why? Because we so often fail to be intentional about love! We fall back into our habit of viewing it as a feeling rather than an action, and we don’t keep our eyes open for opportunities to love others, and therefore God! If you simply look around you, wherever you are, and see the world around you the way God sees it, with a genuine love for everyone, you will realize that there are countless things that you could be doing to love God! Simply use the bank shot- it’s not hard to do. You just have to be intentional, and just do it! It doesn’t take any planning or organizing- you can love those around you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!
The keys to this method of loving God are consistency and observation. Consistency is very important with bank shots for one big reason. Bank shots aren’t one time, or once a month, or even once a week, things. They are constant. You shouldn’t run up and hold the door open for somebody whose hands are full, and then check “Bank Shots” off your list and move on. That’s not the way it works. Instead, you need to make a lifestyle out of it. Everywhere you go, everything you do, everyone you interact with- challenge yourself to throw bank shots off of every situation, without hesitation. Don’t get bogged down or distracted by the world- use the world as your court, and make those bank shots!
The second key, observation, is a big part of getting a lifestyle of loving God. You can’t just set a time when you go out and search for people to love- that would be impractical, inefficient, and extremely odd. Instead, you need to make a habit of keeping your eyes open. There are always ways that you can love and care for the people around you. You simply need to learn to put on your “God-Glasses” and see the world and the people around you the way God sees them. God sees every moment in time as a chance to love His creation. As His church and His ambassadors, it is our job to do the same. One way to do this is to decide on one thing, to start, at the beginning of the day. Opening doors is a good starting place. Then, throughout the day, just keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to open doors for people. Over time, you will become adept at this observational skill. Slowly add more things to look out for, and soon, you will find yourself constantly aware of chances to love other people.
This can be very difficult. Our flesh desires to care about ourselves, and only ourselves. The temptation to look inward and focus on furthering your own wants and needs can be strong. But as Christians, we all desire to love God. God promises us that He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. That applies to this, as well. As impossible as it seems, we can overcome the desire to focus on ourselves. God, the creator of the universe, is on our side! We can’t be stopped by any outside force- the only thing stopping us from reaching our full potential as servants of the one true King is our own bad choices. We can choose to win, or we can choose to lose. Nothing can prevent us from being successful in our choice- it’s just up to us to make the right choice.