Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"The Emphasis" Part 2

"The Emphasis"

Part 2

     What if God will be present, involved, and active in every aspect of our lives today?  He will.  "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).  Furthermore, what if everything in our lives exists as our opportunity to love God and people through the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit?  It does.  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind, and all thy strength.  This is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:30-31).

    The thought came yesterday after writing and sending out the first part of this consideration.  I realized I needed to go to the store.  "I have to go to Walmart and buy a few things" I pondered and planned.  However, I also remembered "The Emphasis."  Another thought came to mind.  "What if another - and greater - reason for going to Walmart actually makes the trip necessary?  What if first and foremost, I am actually going there to love God and love people?"  Even a cursory reading of Biblical doctrine leads to such a conclusion.  Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).  Life for the believer involves the abiding and active presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as He lives in us, and we live through Him.  If loving God and loving people constitute the primary reasons for our existence, and if the indwelling Holy Spirit makes such a glorious purpose possible, we must view all things, including a trip to the store for earthly bread, as opportunity to partake of and distribute "the living Bread, which came down from Heaven" (John 6:51).

    We must apply "The Emphasis" to everything in our lives in order to truly live.  Every relationship, every responsibility, every recreation, every reality in our lives promises and commands our devotion to the assurance of God's indwelling of love, and our privileged calling to love Him and others "in whatsoever ye do."  Let us consider a few more rhetorical questions:  What if we go to work or school or the park or the library for the primary purpose of loving God and others?  What if we go to the doctor for spiritual reasons more than physical?  What if we have dinner with friends to partake of Christ's love along with the meal?  What if we clean the house, or cut the grass, or drive the car, or pay the bills, or…?  This is truth, this is reality, and this is the complete desecularization, as it were, of everything in our lives.  "Unto the pure, all things are pure" declared the Apostle Paul, meaning that God calls us to view every matter of life in terms of privilege and opportunity to know His love, love Him in response, and love others as the fruit of our relationship with the Lord (Titus 1:15).

    The Emphasis does not eliminate the earthly realities of work, human relationships, physical needs, and the dusty paths upon which we journey through life.   It rather brings them into focus for why we still live in the world despite our Heavenly citizenship in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).  Believers possess opportunity to love God and people in our present lives that won't exist in eternity.  We are to love in an environment that often presents great challenge to a life lived in unselfish devotion to God and others.  Great sacrifice presently accompanies such commitment and action.  No less than the cross of Calvary confirms that fact.  "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for us" (Ephesians 5:25).  We also bear our crosses as we install The Emphasis of Scripture as the emphasis of our spirits.  What if loving God and loving others weaves meaning, purpose, and glory into everything in our lives?  It does, along with sacrifice, the sacrifice of viewing our present existence as a way upon which we shall not pass again, and one that offers opportunities to know and transmit the love of God in all things.

"Walk in love."
(Ephesians 5:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous.  But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
(Psalm 1:6)

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