As believers and followers of Christ, we have been given an all-consuming purpose and passion in life, a royal assignment from the King of Glory Himself.† We are called to be lovers of God above all else, and to allow that love to overflow out of ourselves into the lives of every person whom He entrusts to our acquaintance.
Every day as we perform our usual tasks and interact with those around us, we continually mingle with other people. We so often fail to realize that these are no ordinary people, swarming at random in the same vicinity as we find ourselves.† In our preoccupation with the cares of this life and our own self-interest, we sometimes forget that they are people with eternal souls, designed to know Him and experience His love, through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. He longs to fulfill in their lives the purposes for which He has created them. In order for His purposes to be accomplished, they must individually come to a saving knowledge of Himself.
What then is our God-given role in participating in His redemptive plan for the precious, eternal souls of the people who surround us?† Jesus points to one two-fold commandment as the primary purpose and mission He desires for our lives as believers. To the person who truly seeks to live as God intends, He confides, ďYou shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. [And secondly,] you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than theseĒ (Mark 12:30-31).
It is no ridiculous accident that we find ourselves in the company of the specific individuals who cross our path on a daily basis. Whether they become lifelong relationships or brief encounters along the way, we are called and even ordered to love the ones He places in our individual spheres of influence.
If it is to be effective, this love for others must never spring from any human attempt at benevolence or compassion. Earthly love is at best a flawed imitation of the reality it reflects.† All natural loves, which are by nature conditional, are doomed to fail when certain desired conditions are lacking.† When it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves, no merely earthly love will do.† We must embrace and exude a love that goes beyond our finite earthly natures, a supernatural love whose Source is Love Himself.† Godís love is absolutely foreign to the human mindset; in contrast to Godís ever-existent, holy nature, human nature is a created and irrevocably fallen phenomenon. Thankfully, however, the love of God is infinitely superior to human love. His love reaches into eternity and springs from the flawless nature of God Himself.† Godís love does not require any worthiness in its object; it is dependent not on the nature of the loved but of the lover! Unlike humanly inspired love, which is ultimately limited and finite, love that is real and truly born of God never fails.
††††††††††† To the degree that we consciously receive and enjoy Godís love for us personally, His love will automatically be shed abroad in our hearts towards others.† We stay in tune with this love as we absorb His Word, acknowledge His person and His finished work, and integrate His principles of grace and truth into our actions.† Only then are we able, by the Holy Spiritís power which works mightily within us, to behave as love behaves.† 1 Corinthians 13 details to us how others may directly experience Godís love as we live it out in tangible ways. His love, living and operating in our yielded selves, is patient, kind, unselfish, and humble. His love refuses to be provoked or harbor resentment, and delights instead in honoring others, taking pleasure in all that is true and lovely.† It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Godís love extends liberally to all people, in all situations, at all times. Whether we direct this love toward friends, enemies, or indifferent acquaintances, God uses it to activate and accomplish His eternal purposes in their lives. This love, shared freely from the overflowing fountain of His Love inside of us, always wins!
††††††††††† Living out Godís love wins incredible outcomes of righteousness and peace in our horizontal relationships with fellow human beings.† More importantly, however, this noble manner of living wins souls into Christís kingdom for all eternity. As others observe and directly experience the actions love produces in us, they become convinced that Jesus is the Savior He claims to be.† Let us then be faithful stewards of all that He entrusts to us, actively promoting Christ with every aspect of our being, for His glory.
July 16, 2003