Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do You Want to Love? Part 5

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.                  Philippians 1:9-11

Can God trust you? Do I even care to try and be trust-worthy?

Many Christians realize that God knows the future perfectly. He knows what we think; He knows what we have thought in the past. He knows what we will think in the future. He is everywhere, and thinks all things through perfectly, at the same time, and remembers it all. He is All-wise. Only He can do this.

So He knows when I am going to do what He says and He knows when I will sin. In that sense, He knows when to trust me and when not to trust me.

Since God knows everything, should I become apathetic and irresponsible in my faithfulness? Should I conclude that “since God already knows, why should I care?”

I do not know everything. In fact, if I begin to consider all that I do not know; it becomes clear that I do not know even a tiny part of all there is to know. Since I have very few clues about what is going on in the world around me, I might as well admit that I am mostly clueless.

But God is not clueless. He knows how to tell me to live.

One thing I do know is that God is All-wise, and everywhere; and He is the perfect Lord, the perfect counselor, an ever present help. Since He is always with me, and since He loves me, and since He knows everything that is going on around me; I might as well trust Him.

I trust Him totally. I do not trust myself.

And I WANT to be trust-worthy in His eyes. I know that is not going to happen perfectly in this sinful time; but I treasure the ideal. He has made me more trustworthy through the decades of my life. He will continue to make me more trustworthy through the remainder of my life. Why shouldn’t I set my trust-worthiness before God as a serious goal? Would such a goal please Him? Would such a goal be something that He would bring to pass? I think such a goal is a true blessing that He will eagerly bestow upon everyone who treasures His opinion (His judgment).

Review the passage at the top of this article. See the phrase that says, “and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”? God is talking about something real, here! There is a “purity,” and a “blamelessness” for the day of Christ that is founded upon what He has said earlier in the passage. That is why the words, “so that”, appear. There is a “purity” and a “blamelessness” that we should take seriously.

Those of you who have been given faith is Jesus Christ as Savior already know that God does not think people can be perfect by obeying laws. We are given a “righteousness” that enables us to survive the final judgment. This righteousness is a gift that God gives to those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 3:21-26 and Ephesians 2:8-10).

Jesus Christ remains both Savior and Lord. When He saves us from the penalty of sin He changes us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). We have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life. But the forgiveness of our sin is not the end of the matter. It is the beginning of life. How blind I must be if I have been given life, and do not value it enough to live it? How can I pretend to love God with all my heart, soul and strength, and not care whether I actually ‘love’ or not? How can I be sincere in my desire for the return of Jesus Christ if I do not enjoy living life as it will be when He returns? If I do not enjoy following Him now, why should I think I will enjoy following Him then?

It is very easy to be swept away by the current apostasy and think that being “saved through Jesus Christ” is the end-all and be-all of Christianity. In reality, it is just the beginning.

Jesus Christ saves you from the penalty of sin in one day. He is “Lord” of your life every day. This Lord Jesus Christ has given us one over-arching command; to love one another (John 13:34, 35). And to call him ‘Lord’, and then to refuse to do what He says is a denial that He is Lord (Matthew 7:21-23). We can deceive ourselves, and for a while we can deceive others, but we do not ever deceive Him. And it is such a horrible thing to be apathetic toward the Love of God when there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that God would rather give to you than the mind and soul and strength to Love Him and others. After Jesus Christ becomes your Savior from wrath, He continues as your Savior from daily sin. He delivers you from daily sin. He changes you day by day. And Love is His most excellent way.

What does this have to do with the passage above?

There will come a day when God will call us to account for our lives. If we take Him seriously about this time we will be about our Lord’s business. And that means that we intentionally try and love Him and others. If we are serious about Jesus Christ our Lord, then we are intentional about loving Him, and others, over time; month after month, decade after decade.

The passage above says, in part, “and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”. It is possible to ignore our Lord’s words. It is possible to not care what He says. It is foolish, and wicked, and worthless, and it damages our lives and the lives of those around us; but it is possible to not care what He says.

We know that we have a righteousness from God, through the blood of Jesus Christ, that enables us to survive the day of judgment. But this Philippians passage speaks of a ‘purity and a blamelessness’ that is in addition to the gift of righteousness that we receive through faith in Christ.

Is this ‘purity and blamelessness’ worth your time? If God promises us a blessing, a reward, do we pretend that His offer is of little value?

Let’s narrow it down to these two questions. Here is the first: Do I want God to trust me in regard to His greatest commandment? If so, then I should remember what He says about love. I should (and He says, “You can!”) let love abound more and more in my life. I can set a ‘pure and blameless love’ as a major goal in my relationship with my Creator. I can ask for it; practice it; and become skillful at loving Him and others. I can ask others to pray for me, that my love can abound more and more. I don’t think I have anything to do that is more important than that.

Here is the second question: Since Jesus Christ is my Lord, is there any possible way I can please Him more and have Him more active in my life than by doing what He says is most important?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Love is the straight path.

The book, “The Most Excellent Way”, can help.

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