“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
“Love is not premeditated – it is spontaneous.” – Oswald Chambers
We often find ourselves preaching about discipline, or denial, or tasks. We often find ourselves using the phrase “we should be doing these things out of our love for God,” yet often find ourselves condemning those unwilling to complete those tasks.
My question is what if those tasks aren’t completed because the person tasked with them knows they aren’t doing them out of love? What if the one tasked is simply listening to what we’re saying? Do we give them an ultimatum to “do better or else?” Or do we tell them to seek God first?
I fear the answer is too often an ultimatum. I fear too often we give a “do it or lose us’ response. I fear we often respond with the guilt trip, rather than giving them a reason to love God to the point of obedience. I fear we aren’t really listening to our own advice.
In our inconsistency and the inconsistency of others, especially in those we disciple, we should be avoiding the ultamatum at all costs, and should begin recognizing the problem at it’s heart. We must recognize the lack of love.
In our failed goals and failed attempts at showing our godliness and love for God out of task completion, we must examine ourselves and our peers, and ask ourselves: are we completing these tasks out of a longing to love God, and know Him better because of that love? Or are we completing these tasks because we’ve been told that if we don’t, we don’t love God?
“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15
This verse can sound very legalistic to us. It brings with it a tone of salvation to be earned. Yet to truly understand, we must change the language. What if the “if” in this verse was a “because?”
This verse is not about legalism, but rather the end result. It is about the fruit that pours out when we love our God, not the things we do to prove that we love Him. It is about what happens when we embrace Him and deny us – which is true love! And through that true love, we long to serve the one we love. It is not “if” we love Him, but “because” we love Him that we will do His will and obey His commands. It is not task completion that earns His love, but rather His love that leads to our obedience.
As Romans 6:11 says, we shall consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Him, and in Him there is no legalism – only love.
Obedience is rooted in love. Love is not rooted in obedience.
“Look at the birds of the air . . .consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.” – Matthew 6:26, 28
. . . They simply are!
So often we fret about our usefulness to God, yet in this passage (among others) He simply reminds us of our usefulness in the areas we don’t recognize. Our focus can not be on doing things for Christ, but rather being in Him! For when our focus is on doing for Christ, it is on the action rather than the reason. When our focus is on the reason rather than the action, we can have an influence for Him which is greater than we will ever recognize, and the reason we’ll fail to recognize it is because our focus will not turn away from Him long enough for us to look around at the rest of our lives.
We were created to be focused on God to the point of tunnel vision – unable to recognize ourselves and our lives outside of His purpose and direction.
“Let love be genuine.” – Romans 12:9
Notice the simplicity again in this passage. We are not to “make” our love be genuine, or “force” it to be, but to simply “let” it be! WE were created to love, and through the recapturing of the Holy Spirit in us, we are to simply let love happen. With the transforming of our hearts comes the transforming of our very natures, and we no longer need to try to be godly, we simply need to abide in Him, and let His qualities shine through!
Have you recognized His transformation and let Him overcome our old nature and make His nature our own? Abide in Him, and let it happen!