Most people spend a lot of time measuring themselves against others. They measure how they look, how they live, or even how much money they earn. Those kinds of comparisons influence our vision and can actually cause us to set goals that move us away from God instead of closer to Him. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to desire or measure success by the world’s standard. There is another standard that we must live by. The standard is love, and the guidelines for it are given throughout the Bible. Jesus told us to love God first and then love our neighbors as ourselves. In 1st John we are told God is love and all that love Him have love for the brethren. Seems pretty basic and most Christians know and accept this as fact (at least intellectually). Measuring love is not based on whether you can say, “I love you,” nor by intellectual agreement; but, by the consistent demonstration of the qualities in your life. It goes far beyond mental assent. Love purifies your soul and is far more powerful than a feeling or emotion. Love is the gold standard and a priority for the Christian life. As an integrated part of your Christian character it causes you to love your brother, your neighbor, and your enemies. You consistently exhibit patience, forbearance, kindness. You are humble, not easily provoked, and do not immediately think evil when someone offends. You do not envy what others have nor delight when others fail. Not only that, but unselfishness motivates your every thought and action. Beloved of God, know that the Lord wants you to increase in love. Good works and nice deeds without love according to the divine standard are empty. Before you go comparing yourself to some external standard of success and begin planning the steps to obtain what you think they have; submit to the standard of God that should permeate your life. Instead of trying be increased with goods as a measure of success, commit to increasing in love. A life that is full of love (both given and received) is a full and satisfying life indeed. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you gain wisdom and understanding. As you grow in love, God’s presence will increase in you. My prayer today is that you increase in the understanding and demonstration of God’s love.
Thoughts from the message: Love: Measurable, Tried, and True