Monday, May 1, 2017
1Pet. 1:22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.
The work of the resurrected Christ in the life of a believer is two-fold. We are cleansed from the inside out. The heart and the motivations are purified and this works its way through our entire being. The result is an outward visible love for our fellow-believers. This is a deep love to which we literally strain, having a desire to reveal to the world the ways in which we love one another. We constantly desire to move on to higher degrees of love which are reflected daily in the life of a follower of Christ.
Our Christian life ought to be one in which there is continual purification of our souls and growing love for others. This two-fold work which may be seen as personal piety and love for our neighbor is a genuine reflection of the holiness of Jesus Christ. NT Wright was paraphrasing Desmond Tutu this weekend when he said that we if we are going to protest, we must spend as much time in prayer as we do in protesting. In other words, if there will be an outward action of a Christ-follower, it must be built upon the same amount of effort which has been put into our personal spiritual development and relationship with Jesus Christ. You simply can’t have one without the other.
Deep love is to be the evidence of Christ in our lives. This is only possible when we get to know the Lord on a daily basis. It takes time to stop and patiently listen for what the Lord may be trying to say to us. The Lord reveals truth to us and in that moment we must respond in obedience. This is how our souls are purified and how we will grow spiritually. The problem comes when we make no space for the voice of God and instead busy ourselves so that we wouldn’t recognize the Lord’s voice over the din of the day, even if it came to us through a bull-horn! The din of the day includes social media, television, and everything on the internet. We must be intentional about creating space to hear and become obedient. Just as we must commit to putting our phones down at the dinner table, so we must commit to time and space to hear Jesus. When we hear him, then we must obey.
This obedience to the leading of the Savior will overflow in deep love for others. This is the evidence of our faith, the way in which we love other people. We cannot express that we are spiritual and ignore those whom God has placed into our lives. If we are not loving others, then we may not be loving Jesus.
Genuine, real love comes from the heart that is in tune to the voice of the risen Lord. Tune in and let your heart overflow in obedient witness to the presence of Christ.
Lord, please help me to hear your still sweet voice every day. Please help me follow in obedience. Amen.