Originally published Tuesday, 07 January 2014.
Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14
All that we do should be motivated by the love of God.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been hung-up on this topic lately. Many of my most recent posts have had this theme, or a variation of it, threaded throughout them. But this has been a mega-theme of my life recently.
Honestly, I have to confess. I think I’ve been missing the mark on this one for quite some time now, but God’s giving me grace, and He’s renewing the love I had at first, which I am unbelievably grateful for.
IT ALL BEGINS WITH LOVE
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, my journey with Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, began with God’s whisper, showing me my need to forgive. But then He told me I needed to love my enemy.
You see, it all began with love. All the craziness that happened, all the tears, all the healing, all the redemption, the forgiveness, the grace, the confession, the repentance, the truth revealed. It all began with the command to love.
Now as you may know, I didn’t feel like loving Anthony. And in fact, I didn’t know how to love him either. So, I was faced with what looked like an insurmountable question:
What does it look like to love someone the world tells you to hate? [Tweet that]
After much prayer, God began to show me that it actually begins with, of all things, prayer.
Praying for others is loving them! Simple. Right?
But then there is so much more to loving others. Bob Goff is one of my favorite people (though I don’t actually know him), and he says, “Love does.”
For those of you who have yet to come across Bob, he wrote a book about this very topic, with this very title. It’s called Love Does. This book is one of my all time favorites, by the way, and I HIGHLY recommend you read it!
But anyway, in his book, Bob points out the fact that love is a verb. It’s an action. We’re intended to love people for real, not just in concept. [Tweet that] In other words, the love we are to share––the command to love God and love others––requires action. It’s not just some touchy, feely emotional kind of love that never moves you to act (though there’s nothing wrong with these feelings accompanying your love-actions). But instead, real love moves and acts!
Now, this is something I’ve understood at times (as with Anthony), but there are plenty of times I’ve failed miserably as well. But ultimately, we need to strive to be motivated by this kind of love.
ARE YOU WASTING YOUR LIFE?
John Piper wrote a book entitled Don’t Waste Your Life. He also preached a sermon you can watch on the topic that is well worth your time. In it, Piper encourages his readers/listeners to allow their lives to have the significance God intends and to allow God to use them wherever they are.
Essentially, Piper calls each of us to the mat and tells us, “Don’t waste your life!!” Don’t allow societal norms to dictate how you live your life. [Tweet that] Don’t just put in the bare minimum. Work your job. Save for retirement. Retire. And golf away your last years before you die. Your life is intended for so much more than that!
We need to be intentional with our lives!
We need to live each moment to the glory of God, living out our God-given purpose on this earth. And just so we’re clear, life is not about attaining the “American dream.” It’s about loving God and loving others. And if we allow God to direct our steps to that end, I would guess our lives would look drastically different than your typical American life (or at least I hope it would).
As I was beginning to correspond with Anthony, I wrote in my journal that God had shown me that the Christian life is not one of passivity but one of deliberate, intentional action. [Tweet that] Now, just as a disclaimer, we are not saved by what we do. We are saved by grace through faith. But we can intentionally choose to love God and love others, which requires action.
Now, I know none of us will love perfectly, but we must strive to attain it. And truly, we’re all in this thing together. We’re all walking alongside Jesus, fighting temptations and all that tries to pull us away from Him. But the moment we choose to receive the power that has already been given to us through the Holy Spirit, we begin to make a difference as we walk in love.
So, what does it look like to love someone the world tells you to hate? What does it look like to live life differently?
I believe it begins with prayer. I believe it requires deliberate, prayerful action. And I believe it necessitates that we extend the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that Jesus freely gave us to all those around us.
So here’s the thing: God wants to use you!! Rest assured, you have not wasted your life! Your life has purpose, and it’s never too late to join the movement of God.
Let us all (myself included) irresolutely decide to live to the glory of God wherever we currently find ourselves, intentionally choosing to love God and love others through our actions.
I know I can certainly use some prayer in this area, and I’ll be praying for you all as well. Together we will strive to attain “the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ” just as Paul once did so many years ago (Philippians 3:14).
…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31