love well

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, MSG)

This week we’re working through living an ongoing Thanksgiving. On Sunday, we looked at how prayer brings us into God’s presence. Monday’s topic was about the need for tapping into God’s strength for perseverance through the literal and metaphorical dog days of summer. Since we are in the midst of the most wonderful time of the year, it is much easier to get and stay in a posture of thanksgiving, but we need help when all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings don’t automatically carry us there. That’s when we need to get a new perspective.

The best perspective you can garner is one of love. Plain and simple. As Paul wrote in our passage for today, we need love to flourish. The point was made that a godly understanding of love is something that you feel in your heart and can discern with your mind. The sentimental gush doesn’t last; it’s like an emotional high or infatuation. The kind of love we need is a bountiful one that produces spiritual fruit that can be harvested in faith for all to see. Loving this way changes lives! This isn’t to say that nothing ever goes amiss in life, but what it does help us understand is the truth that no matter what life throws our way, it cannot separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

The love of God is eternal. It goes on and on and on. Living life with that knowdledge — even when things are tough — helps to keep a faithful perspective that we are always enveloped in the love of God. This is truly something for which to be thankful, and can carry you through no matter what life throws your way!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love for me in Jesus Christ. May I allow that love to shape me to help me persevere through the difficulties in life, and stay grounded with you in prayers of thanksgiving. I lift this prayer in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.