My message last night was 90% devotional/10% sermon. It’s one I find myself going to quite a bit at the end of years and closing of chapters. It boils down to this:
If I dot every “i” and cross every “t” in living out the Christian but fail to abide in the love of God along the way, I have missed the whole point. Without love, language loses meaningfulness; prophecy profits nothing; knowledge, wisdom, and faith amount to nothing. Jesus said that there is no greater love than this: A man laying down his life for his friends. Paul comes back with some commentary on that, that even the sacrifice of oneself, if not driven by love, means very little. To bring it into the language of contemporary language, I could check off every one of these boxes:
- Consistent tithing, even giving above and beyond out of generosity
- Never skipping out on church
- Sharing my faith and going on mission trips
- Praying regularly
- Getting into the Scriptures daily
- Demonstrating profound theological depth and insight
- A really cool Christ-centered tattoo (okay, maybe not so much the last one…)
And still miss out on the point of the Christian life.
Love is the fulfillment of all of God’s commands. Love is the demonstration that we know God and belong to Him. Love is the testimony by which the world will know that we belong to Jesus Christ. Love holds the church’s fellowship together.
When we know the love of God, we are no longer afraid, because love casts out fear. Love covers a multitude of sins. The love of Christ controls us, taking us to levels of obedience and compassion and sacrifice far beyond our natural capacities.
In love God predestined us for adoption in Christ as His sons and daughters. In love He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Because of His great love for us, when we were dead in our sins, He raised us to life in Christ. Because of the depth, height, length, and width of His love, we know that we are totally secure in Him.
Love is patient, kind, generous, selfless, enduring, forgiving, truth-loving, and serving. Love is everything that we seek and so rarely find in the course of life in this sin-sick world. Because God is love. Love is the perfect expression of who God is. And when we abide and walk in His love, we become living demonstrations of the power and presence of God among His people.
My prayer for you is that you know would know how deep the love of God is for you and that, resting in that love, you would live it out.