by Pastor Mark Jordan
“If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)
This week we are considering what it means to love our neighbor as we love self. We’ve explored loving with our words, as well as with the things we know. Today, we take that a step farther as we consider loving with our deeds.
When the Apostle Paul wrote his famous words about love, he taught that love should not be separated from our actions. How often have you done something begrudgingly and out of obligation? Even if it is the right thing to do, doing it without love carries no benefit. Those are striking words! The essence here is love must be our motivation for serving. We must do the right thing for the right reason. Our motivations and actions must be congruent.
The book of James speaks to this about knowing God’s word and doing what it says. Not to do so is like ignoring not just God’s word, but our entire created purpose to begin with…to be in relationship with God and reflect his image to creation. Consider James 1:22-25: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25, NIV).
God wants you to love him and your neighbor in word, faith, and deed. God wants you to do the right thing for the right reasons and with the right motivation. This is at the heart of what it means to be blessed in all we say and do, following the Golden Rule to treat others as we want to be treated.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me. Help me to love you and others with a perfect motivation, making my words, beliefs, and actions congruent according to your purpose. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.