Read His Words Before Ours!
Life in Christ begins and ends with love.
In studying Jesus’s ministry, we learn that He operated from a place of love, from start to finish.
He came to earth as a man because of love (John 3:16).
As He walked among us, He explained there is no greater commandment than love, first for God, and then for those around us (Matt 22: 37-9).
This God-man translated His words to action when He chose to die in our place, because He loves us too much to face eternity without us (John 15:13).
And finally, having proved that love is stronger than death, His final instructions to His disciples were that they should do the same: share the overwhelming, incomprehensible love of God with a waiting world, thereby discipling disciple-makers (Matt 28:19-20).
With all of Himself.
With everything He was.
Holding nothing back.
And because of that, His legacy continues to transform lives,
thousands of years after His death and ascension.
As we dig into 1 Timothy 1, we see that He asks us to do the same.
The goal, Paul writes, of all that he has passed on to Timothy is love.
Paul isn’t simply sharing knowledge to help Timothy gain status, to ensure his pupil can debate wittily, and therefore reflect well on his teacher. No, Paul’s desire for Timothy, and God’s desire for us, goes much deeper.
He longs for us to lead our daily lives driven by love,
developing within ourselves a pure heart,
a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
This allows us to do His work in a way that builds His kingdom!
Let’s take a moment to talk status.
In 1 Timothy 1, Paul warns Timothy against his siren song and ours, pride.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes the incredible accomplishments we can achieve, even seemingly for the kingdom . . . and how they leave no impact on a world that is dying with the infection of sin, unless they are carried out with love.
Again in Colossians 1, Paul asserts that it is our overflow of the Father’s love that gives meaning to our lives, and our life’s work. In Romans 13, he reiterates Jesus’s emphasis on the two greatest commandments: love God, and love people.
In doing so, we bring about both fulfillment of the Law, and its transcendence!
But what about us, today?
We can fill our newsfeeds with beautifully edited pics and tales of our seeming perfection. We can drop self-aggrandizing references to our accomplishments into snippets of conversation.
We can blog about our acts of service until our fingers fall off.
We can spend a lifetime building our status.
A world that is longing for authenticity, for transformation,
for hope, redemption, grace, and everything that His love brings,
will see through our hypocritical status in about two seconds.
We can love.
We can choose to devote ourselves to quietly, humbly,
intimately soaking in and returning His love.
Digging into His word consistently to learn of its depths and its callings.
Accessing its unparalleled power in the place of prayer.
Rejoicing in its sweet ability to change our hearts as we worship.
Having fulfilled the first commandment to love God with our everything, we can then approach the second commandment from the overflow of that love and love others well!
You see, dear friend, I don’t believe He’s asking us to be the
ANYTHING-perfect Christ follower.
He’s asking us to be the person in the coffee shop who sees the hurt radiating out of the patron at the next table, feels His gentle nudge, and speaks His words of comfort to His precious child.
He’s asking us to be a listening, compassionate friend to the coworker who’s slogging through brokenness, and then offer to pray with her, right there in that moment,
putting her in touch with the God who can restore wholeness.
He’s asking us to be the mom in the school pick up line who understands oh-so-well the parenting struggle of the mom next to us and isn’t afraid to admit it. The mom who can be real about her shortcomings, and about her faith in a God who’s got them covered.
He’s asking us to love.
Wherever and with whomever He has put us.
With our words and our actions and our whole lives.
With our everything.
That kind of love, His kind of love, is meaningful.
It leaves a legacy.
It transforms lives and changes the world . . .
one small, quiet, authentic, obedient act of love at a time.
Father, thank You for Your incomprehensible, tender, unending love for me. Help me to love You with my everything, to be steadfastly devoted to pursuing Your heart. And then open my eyes to those around me who need a touch of Your love today. Awaken my spirit to a holy awareness of Your calling and guiding, and awaken my heart to obedience and courage to act in love as I see You lead. In Your name I pray, amen.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!