The focus on the last week of Advent is love. What better virtue to illustrate. We think of the ultimate love story in John 3:16. However, we know the lengths and the depths of what God went to in order to prove HIs love for us, yet, what are we willing to do to prove our love for Him? This morning I was reminded of the following scripture:
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Romans12:9 (MSG)
The KJV reads, "love without dissimulation" – not a word we hear much of today. Eugene Peterson takes it to the core – "love from the center of who you are". If Christ is our center, then we must love like Him. In fact, if He is our center, His love flows. out of us! What that love looks like is described next, "run for dear life from evil, hold on for dear life to good". This is more like a wrestling match – not a simple handshake. The enemy of our soul either wants us to believe that it is not possible and hence give up. Or, He leads us to believe our falsetto kind of love is permissible- we’ll just act like we love!
Genuine love is something that flows out of God and it is something that is practiced, for there are times when it’s harder than others to keep the jet stream on. We practice by learning to "play second fiddle". It’s not about us. – it’s about Him! We learn to submit to the will of God, which often means humbling ourselves among our peers. We learn to promote others, rather than ourselves. We learn to listen, twice as much as we speak. We learn. to pray for, more than we speak to a situation. Yes,God’s love flows, but it flows from a heart that has been seasoned:
"Indeed, if it is your own hand that spoils your faith, you must cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to keep both your hands, and go to the rubbish-heap, If your foot spoils your faith, you must cut it off. It is better to enter life on one foot than to keep both your feet and be thrown on to the rubbish-heap. And if your eye leads you astray, pluck it out. It is better for you to go one-eyed into the kingdom of God than to keep both eyes and be thrown on to the rubbish-heap, where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’. For everyone will be salted by fire." Mark 9:49 (PHILLIPS)
The key in the above passage is not about cutting off limbs, but allowing our heart to be "salted by fire".
2019 no doubt left you bruised in some places. You had good days, you had not so good days. Yet, on this last Friday of 2019 you are still here. You still have opportunity to allow the relationship you have begun with God to have its’ perfect way with you. While that may require that you get out your fiddle and move to the rear, the music that will come from your life will resonate with the glorious life-changing melodies from heaven!