Everything Hangs on Love
This past Sunday, we launched into our newest series- “Undivided.” Coming off of Easter week, there should be no idea more central in our hearts and minds as believers than God’s amazing LOVE for us. But did you know the love of God didn’t change anything? I know, I know- you’re thinking I’ve lost my mind! But it’s true! LOVE doesn’t change anything as long as it’s only traveling in one direction. This past week at Easter, we actually proved that. Millions of people around the country attended an Easter Service online somewhere. They heard about this unfailing love of God. But how many of them are still living unchanged lives today? God’s love for us makes life change entirely POSSIBLE, but it doesn’t guarantee it. The power of love is only unlocked when it becomes RECIPROCAL. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for you only becomes life changing when you love Him back. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, He sent Jesus, that anyone who BELIEVES in Him (and consequently receives Him), will not perish but will have everlasting life. We love because God first loved us…but we have to make the choice to return that love. That is the key. In fact, love is so powerful, we are told in Matthew 22 that the greatest commands God has ever given us- to love Him and to love others, are foundational. According to Jesus, EVERYTHING hangs on love. It does not matter how much scripture you know, or how long you have attended church, or how generous you have been over the years, if the lens for all of it isn’t a lens of love. If you serve, but don’t serve in love, you missed it. If you follow God, but do it out of duty and not out of love, you missed it. When you use God’s word as an excuse to ignore, overlook, or condemn someone for their lifestyle, you have not have actually abused His word…because according to Jesus, it all comes down to love. So what does this look like in our lives? The Apostle Paul says it so well in Colossians 3: And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17 NLT) We are to do everything we do as representatives of Jesus. Some translations say “In the name of the Lord.” We are to act, speak, live and love all in the name of Jesus. If what we are considering doing can’t be done in the presence of Jesus without shame, we shouldn’t do it. In fact, in the gospel of John, Jesus says that the way the world will know we belong to Him is through our love. Over the next four weeks, we are diving into that idea holistically, discovering what it means to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. But let me give you a thought to give you some handles to grab onto: Our Affection determines our Devotion. Think of your affections as the rudder of a ship. Your affection literally set the direction of your life. If you want to know where your love and loyalty lies, look at what occupies your time, motivates your actions, shapes your dreams, guides your spending, etc. As Jesus says, wherever our treasure is, there our heart will also be. As we dive into this series, we are going to talk about what it means to love God with all we are…but it all hangs on where our affections lie. What story is your life telling about your affections? Would the world know you loved Jesus by the life you live? Because if we are ever going to love God with all we are, it has to start with our heart.