Easter - 2018

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seeking to avoid a loveless life of unrighteousness!


1 John 3:12, 
"Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous."

The above text was in our sermon text yesterday in the sixth sermon of our "Economy of Mercy and the Currency of Grace" study series. The sermon was on the topic of "love." Spending the currency of grace is to live love in daily actions. It was a great sermon, I highly recommend it for Mother's day and for a study on sacrificial love. The link is Park Chapel Podcast. 

The above verse has had me thinking all day about the jealousy of Cain verses righteousness of Abel. So many people embrace the unrighteousness of the world. I have found that in my own life this tug to the unrighteous usually is a desire to compete or fulfill a need to be better than the next guy. In the economy of mercy that was established in Jesus' resurrection, daily living is directed by love while seeking to better the next guy. It is to serve, give, and live a life of generosity in all aspects of life. 

Gracepoint Devotions puts it this way:  
To what extent have I personally come to see that “anyone who does not love remains in death”?

Loving others as a follower of Christ is not an option in living my life here on earth.  I don’t think it’s the case that being righteous before God just means being sinless or sinning less and less.  In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees were suppose to be the most sinless people.  What Jesus made clear about them over and over again, was the fact that they may be ‘righteous’ in the legalistic sense, but their biggest sin was their loveless lives.  They were so focused on perfecting their lives and religious practices, that they had neither the desire nor need to love others.  It was all about them and how well they do.  They had no concern about how others were doing.

I think this is the same kind of pitfall that I can fall into, despite how much I may be involved in church activities or ministry or evangelism.  If I set my definition of being ‘righteous’ before God to be how many hours I spend at church or doing church things, I can easily do all the activities and care less and less about others.  I can go to the prayer band time on Saturday morning and sit there saying prayers through the topics on the prayer request sheet about the church plant team members, and not miss them or personally feel their burdens or anguish over their needs.  I can invite students to come to the Bible Study to learn about God’s word, but not care about how their week went or what they are stressed about or how their family is doing back home.  I can just be satisfied with the fact that they came to the Bible Study.  I can pray for someone’s salvation even, but not really long to see them in heaven with me standing before God someday.  It’s rather amazing how I can have a person right in front of me, and rather than thinking how this person is doing or what he/she must be going through, I can just think about how this person views me or past grudges or hurts this person caused, or how and in what things he/she may be better than me, etc.  In this kind of loveless state, it’s about what I did, how much I did or did not do, rather than about God or the other person.

That kind of loveless and self-centered heart is a dead heart.  God is love, and his most significant commands have to do with love:  Loving God and loving others.  If I am not living the life of love, then I become a stranger to God as I do not know the very character of him, and I am not living in obedience to Him.  Disconnected and in disobedience, I remain in death.

These words are a stark reminder of the life we seek to live. We are developing Christ-Followers...seeking spiritual formation as God would develop His love, life, and faith within us. Therefore, we make it our goal to please Him by following His example of generosity, mercy, grace, and love. You know I love ya, Don

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