Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 9 July 21:
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – “…may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
Who makes you increase and abound in love? Who establishes your heart blameless in holiness before the Father? God does it all. If you desire to grow in love and holiness, get closer to Jesus, abide in Him. What is the evidence of your true relationship with God? What is the natural fruit of the Spirit in your life? The love you have for others, not the sort of love which the world gives, but a supernatural love which comes from God and compels your heart to unconditionally, selflessly, and sacrificially love even your enemies wholeheartedly and earnestly:
- John 13:35 — By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
- 1 John 4:11-13 — Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
- Matthew 26:6-13 — Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Love and worship (which is an act of love to God) are costly, inefficient, and often unreasonable to others who will question why you are wasting your valuable time, effort, and resources on people who don’t deserve it or on God who is unseen and perhaps unknown to them. The woman ‘wasted’ expensive ointment in a shocking way to love and worship. Perhaps, one of the best ways we can love others is to ‘waste’ our time being with them and caring for them, particularly when it causes us to sacrifice our own priorities in costly ways.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 July 21: Today, focus on abiding in Jesus, and allow the Spirit to flow from Him through you as His conduit of love to others and as His messenger of reconciliation through Christ. Pour out your expensive ointment of love upon God and others today in ways that shock others.