Are you living for God or living with Him?
Among AW Tozer’s many quality quotes, this one captures a profound principle regarding love and mission:
“In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord of the work.”
It is amazing how those who call themselves “Christians” can become consumed with LIVING FOR GOD rather than LIVING WITH HIM. Maybe not so surprising, though. The people of Israel did the same thing back before and during Jesus’ day. There is a story of a woman’s interaction with Jesus in John 8 that proves the point:
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
The story of “Cast the 1st Stone” demonstrates the sharp contrast between the noise of self-righteous religion and the beauty of God’s healing love. It is a powerful example of this one fact – the Jews missed the point and took the mission they were given by the living, loving God in a misguided direction. Paul commented on this very thing in Romans 10:
1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Paul was challenging the church of Corinth not to miss the point, either. How could they and how could we, when the entirety of Scripture reminds us of God’s overflowing heart of love for our neighbor and for the nations. Take a few moments to grab a Bible and look up these passages of Scripture, beginning in Genesis and going through Revelation, and notice God’s overflowing heart of love for the people of our world and His clear intention to take the message of His love and nearness into all the world and to all people through the love and nearness of His followers committed to living and speaking His Gospel.
- Genesis 17:4–6
- Exodus 14:1–4
- Deuteronomy 28:9–10
- 1st Chronicles 16:23–25
- Psalm 46:10
- Isaiah 56:1–8
- Micah 7:15–20
- Matthew 24:14
- Matthew 28:19
- John 20:21
- Acts 1:6–8
- Romans 15:20–21
- 1st Corinthians 9:22–23
- Galatians 3:8–9
- 1st Peter 3:15
- Revelation 5:9
Now, take a look at a new command Jesus gave in John 13:
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This is how the world will know that we are learning and living the ways of Jesus (being His disciple), by our love for one another.
Have you walked away from the intention of the Lover for your life? Are you consumed with LIVING FOR GOD rather than LIVING WITH HIM? Will you love as He loves, no matter what, compelling others to drink deep of the Living Water when they taste Him in and through you?
It is what He intended from the beginning. He did not die so that we would go to church. He died so that we would be the church.
May it be so.
Welcome your thoughts. Looking forward to worshiping with you Sunday morning if you can make it to worship gathering as we continue in the “Summer Love” series. Love you guys!