I heard Ravi Zacharias on the radio a couple of days ago making a statement that reminded me of the challenges of Christianity. He said something like, “it is not by what we do that we are saved or redeemed, but it is by what we do that we reveal who we are to the world.”
For a while now, I have been struggling with the concept of Biblical love and how we are called, commanded rather, to love (John 13:34-35). Who are we supposed to love? What is this love all about? How do we show it? I know it is not based on emotions or feelings. I know the love Jesus is talking about is not merely intellectual, but based on actions and doing. Dr. Zacharias’ teaching gave me a glimpse into what this love may be all about.
It is a love that others can actually see, and by which the world recognizes the hand of God in our actions.
As Ephesians 2:8 instructs us: for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. So nothing we do in this world, no amount of good deeds will ever have the power to gain us eternity with Christ. It is a gift of the Most High, thanks to His Holy Grace and the faith that the Holy Spirit plants and cultivates in us. So we don’t love because we are looking for redemption. We love because we are redeemed. Because we belong to Him, who loved us first, we are able to love, and are commanded to love, to show the world who we belong to. Puzzling, indeed!
And we don’t love only those who love us…where is the reward in that? We love as an act of obedience, as we pray that the Holy Spirit grows His most important fruit in our soul so we can love as an act of our redemption and our sanctification.
As the year comes to a close, I think about how love represents such a huge challenge for me. Unforgiveness, selfishness and a misguided sense of pride prevent me from fully embracing love as a priority in my life. However, it is not by my own power that I would be able to love the way Jesus commands me to. I have to relay on Him to grow His love for others in my heart. I surrender my unloving nature to Him, so He can allow me to see His love for His children with my own eyes, and then let the Holy Spirit produce His fruits in me so I can love them as well.
Everything I do has to be guided by love for God and love for my brothers and sisters because of the love God has for them. I pray, therefore, that my Lord will give me the eyes to see His love for His beloved so I can offer my love to them also for that is the only reason He moves me to do whatever I do. Not just for my own benefit and fulfillment, but for the benefit and fulfillment of the ones He loves.
Love, therefore is a riddle…a mind-boggling riddle that only the Divine can clarify. May the love of God be evident in our lives in 2012 and always!