1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
THEME OF THE DAY. OUR GREATEST NEED. It is a beautiful summer morning. We are sitting together at an outdoor café, sipping a little coffee and enjoying each other’s company. The conversation is refreshing and spiritual. We care about each other’s walk with the Lord and that is evident by the investment we are making in each other’s lives. By the way, are you in such relationships with other Christians? I hope so. It is called “obedience to God” to be doing so. We are to intentionally and spiritually give ourselves over to these spiritual relationships. It is one of the most important ways to “make disciples” and grow in the Lord. Without them, rest assured, our growth in grace will be slow, if not non-existent. We don’t do the Christian life alone. We get saved individually but we don’t spiritually grow privately. Okay . . . back to our morning together. As the conversation continues, I ask you a question, “What is the area in your walk with the Lord that you struggle with the most, that you want more developed, and grieves you the most because it seems like little progress is being made?”
The “list” in answering my question might be long. It may range from “Read my Bible more consistently, pray more fervently, share the Gospel more effectively, and be more involved in my church.” And there are many more spiritual disciplines we might exchange with each other, but in the short list I mentioned, what is common with all of them? Every one of them are dependent on what we do. It is all about us. Granted, we are responsible to “do the Christian life.” Don’t sit around and wait for God to “holy zap” you with Himself and spiritual growth. We must discipline ourselves in those four spiritual disciplines I mentioned, but there is something else that is far more needed. It is my answer to my question.
The greatest need in my life and I am bold enough to say “in the life of every Christian and church” is to be controlled by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). I look into my life and see way too much selfishness; way too much self-love; way too much lack of love for people; way too much “convenient” Christianity that does acts of love when it fits my schedule; and way too much personal comfort than to sacrifice it to lovingly serve needy people. And if we are growing in grace and getting closer to the God who is love, we should realize just how far short we fall in being under the control of Christ’s love. The more we experience His love and Person, the more we see the ugliness of self-love and selfish living, but that isn’t to discourage us. It is to humble us and that opens up the door to experience more of His love and thus learn how to be controlled by His love. And a life learning how to be controlled by the Lord’s love will be a life that is consistently and progressively dying to self and self-love. As this occurs, the interests of Christ and others takes over our hearts, minds, and lives.
When it comes to “doing the Christian life”, we don’t need more Bible studies, more training, more “how to” manuals, and more seminars. Those all have their places, but our greatest need is to experience Christ’s love through His Word, prayer, and fellowship with His people that transforms us to be a people under the control of His love. The importance of this cannot be understated. Just read today’s scripture. The Apostle Paul tells us without love, we are nothing. How sad it would be to think we are “doing the Christian” life based on what we do instead of becoming more like Christ, loving people by living under the control of His love.
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me for the times I allow other things in my Christian life become more important than the main thing.”
QUOTE: “If we are not learning to slay self-love and be controlled by Christ’s love, we don’t understand spiritual growth.”