August 24 – Pursue Love

August 24 – Pursue Love

2 Timothy 2:22

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (1 Timothy 2:22) And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:21)

How does a mere human being love the infinite God? By the loving adoration of worship, by unceasing thanksgiving, by a life of steadfast obedience, by sharing his companionship and exulting in the endless profusion of his gifts. This is the goal of creation and redemption: to love God. Not so much to find my fulfillment, but to find his, to bring him joy, to seek his purposes, to do his will.

Indeed, to love God is the first and great commandment, but it is not the only commandment. The “law and the prophets” do not depend on this alone. There is another commandment. And, in truth, one cannot obey the first without obeying the second.[68]

Jesus identified two commandments on which all else depends, and the second, he says, is very like the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matt. 22:39; cf. Lev. 19:18). Both Jesus himself and John the well-loved took pains to spell out in great detail that other-love is the indispensable evidence of love for God. God is loving. Indeed, God is love. The supreme importance of love is seen in this: Love is the way God is.

Great and sharp has been the contention over whether righteousness or love is paramount in God’s character. And how do his justice and holy wrath against sin fit with his love? Some hold that righteousness is the comprehensive description and that love is an element of what is right or true. Others hold that love is the comprehensive category and that righteousness is one facet of love. Perhaps we can do no better than rejoice with the psalmist that “steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Ps. 85:10). This they did at Golgotha when God’s righteous indignation against sin fell on his own beloved Son because of love for you and me. Certainly it is true that God’s kind of right cannot exist without love, and God’s kind of love cannot exist without righteousness.

Love is of supreme importance because that is the way God is. To be loved by God is the highest relationship, the highest achievement, the highest purpose in life. To have an incredible career, have my children become senators or professional football players, to be married to someone beautiful or famous, to own a mansion on the lake, is nothing compared with intimacy with the Creator of the universe who was born, who lived and died that I might walk in deep intimacy with him.

Since 2008, we watched the stock market, gold, and housing plummet, we’ve seen hurricanes destroy cities, and politics destroy people. We found that we may spend 30 or 50 years building a home, a family, heritage, ministry, reputation, even health – and it could be gone in an instant.

If you were to live alone or start over in life, what would you want to mark you as a person? Take a moment and consider what top four characteristics do you want people to think of when they think of you? I suggest they include; that you are a lover of God and a lover of people. Two things last forever – God and people. John 13:34 reminds us,; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The church is designed to be God’s visible evidence of His design and desire for each person. The world is to see in the church God’s own love and holiness. The people of God and the Spirit of God are in partnership to give the world truth (accurate definitions of love and righteousness, even of sin) so that people can know of the freedom and life that is so opposite of Satan’s kingdom (John 8:34-37; John 10:10; John 16:7-11). How is your love life today?

[68] Matt. 22:34-40; 1 John 3:11-18; 4:19–5:1 5:1

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