God is Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains,but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
–1 Cor.13:1-3
 

God is love. And without him–without a deep and personal knowledge of the very personification of Love–I am nothing. I have nothing. I gain nothing.

Nothing.

Many seek after signs. The big flash. The big testimony. Holy Ghost goose bumps–spiritual chills and thrills. They seek to grow in the operation of spiritual gifts without seeking a greater revelation of the Gift-Giver. Never realizing he is the greatest Gift …

Because the greatest gift is love.

Still others thirst after knowledge. They worship the letter of the law above the Spirit. They bow at the altar of their own intellect and understanding. They seek insight into the written Word without true revelation of the Living Word.

But those who seek him–find him.

Some seek significance through service. They sacrifice their lives for the betterment of  others. They give themselves away hoping they can give enough to make a difference; to bring a change.

But he desires “obedience, not sacrifice.”

Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

And what did he command?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’  and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Luke 10:27).

Today marks the end of a 21-day fast I participated in with my community of faith. It was an awesome time. We prayed hard and we believed hard. I know God heard us and I believe breakthrough is on the way. But if all we did was petition; if all we did was engage in discipline and sacrifice hoping to see breakthrough; if all we did was seek after answers…

We missed it completely.

He doesn’t want to be our discipline. He doesn’t want to be our habit. And he certainly doesn’t want to be a vending machine where  you add just the right amount of change and get what you want.

He wants to be the Lover of our souls.

He wants to be our Friend. He wants relationship. He wants to interact with us. He wants us to partner with him in what he already wants to do (and he wants to do it far more than we want him to!). We don’t have to beg him for the things he has already declared to be on his heart.We just need to agree with him. We just need to go where he goes and do what he does.

We just need to love him.

Spritual disciplines are wonderful, but our motive must be love. We are commanded to pray and should do it fervently and often, but our motive must be love. Learning to operate in the gifts he has freely given to us is essential for both the health of the Body and the good of the world, but our motive must be love. Giving our lives away in service to others is noble and necessary, but our motive must be love.

I’m so thankful for the way God has tenderized my heart during these last few weeks. I’m so thankful for his reminder, yet again, that it is sustained passion for my First Love that turns sacrifice and discipline into great joy. I’m so thankful that my heart has moved–just a bit–closer to his. And whenever my heart moves closer to his, I end up right back in the same place …

He is the beginning. He is the end. He is all there is and all there will ever be. He is all I really want.

Because he is Love.


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