Morning Devotion: God Looks at How We Love, How We Live, and Steward What He Gives. It Matters How We Live and Love.
It does not matter the title, position, influence in Christiandom, where you travel, who celebrates you, if you stand on a platform or stage, how much money is made, what celebrity Christian applauds you, the miracles-signs-or wonders, how many books are sold, who you marry, how many kids you have, how big the church is, if you are on tv, how many conferences you preach at, who thinks you are the who’s who on earth, how many supernatural encounters are had, etc…God cares how we love. He cares how we treat people. He cares how we live and how we represent Him. Does the world see anything in us that looks like Jesus?
Jesus did not come to earth and build a fan club or try to sell Jesus swag. He came and made disciples. He came and did the will of the Father. When people encountered Jesus they encountered heaven on earth. Jesus did not have a roped off section from the poor, destitute, and marginalized. Jesus got low and washed feet. Jesus stated, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Jesus modeled Kingdom of Heaven. The behavior of Jesus reflected the character of the Father. He did not live for the praise or applause of men. He lived for the already given applause of the Father. Jesus did not need to buy followers, nor force people to follow Him. The authenticity of Jesus compelled people to follow Him.
What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul? Heaven does not care how popular we are on earth. What causes the applause of man is not what causes the applause of heaven. Heaven looks at what we did with the knowledge of Jesus, how we loved, and how we stewarded what He gave us. God does look at obedience and stewardship (Matthew 25:14–30). Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7).
The voice of Jesus:
‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” but you do not do what I tell you?’A person comes to me. He hears what I say and obeys me. I will show you who he is like.He is like a man who built a house. He dug down deep in the ground and made it stand on a rock. The water in the river came up high. The water beat hard against the house. But the house did not move, because it was built on a rock,~Jesus from Luke 6:46-48 (WE)
My heart mourns because some will hear at the end of their lives, “Depart from Me, I never knew you,” from Jesus. They may have preached in His name, attended churches, collected offerings, preached all over the world, cast out demons, seen the sick healed, yet they did not have life union and intimacy with Jesus. See Matthew 7:23. I pray I do not betray Jesus nor make my life more about doing for Jesus than being with Jesus.
Paul tells us this in 1 Corinthians 13 (The Passion Translation):
If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels,[yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.
And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.
For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.
The love that Paul speaks about is love from God, it comes through abiding and relationship with God. It is a transformative love that brings about a greater representation of who He is in us. It is impossible to love like God without intimacy and life union with God. Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in Him, we will bear abundant fruit (John 15:4-5). The fruit of God is goodness (love, peace, joy, gentleness, etc). If we abide in Him, the fruit of our lives will be good.
May we receive the great love of God and abide in His love. I know I need to abide, to soak, and God continually places me in situations to grow in love. I am still on the Potter’s Wheel. Thankful God continues to reveal more and more of who He is and His great love.
May you and I live for the applause of heaven! It matters far more to hear a well done from the Lord than from people. At the end of our lives, every person (believers included) will give an account to God for how they lived, how they loved, and how they stewarded who and what God gave them (Romans 14:12, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 25:14–30, Matthew 25:40, 45).
May we live and love for an audience of 1. May we steward everything God gives well. May we understand even as believers we are held accountable for how we love, live, and steward what belongs to God.
Love in Christ,