November Letter from Mat

Love is …

Love is ... taking everything into accountI love those ‘love is’ cartoons that were popular a few years ago. Love provides the material for more songs than anything else, including Christian worship. The Bible has been described as the love story of God and humanity. God is described as ‘Love’ in 1 John. We often speak of our love for God and sing of our love for Jesus.

I suspect that many of us are comfortable with the concept, but perhaps less comfortable with actually expressing our love for God with one another.

I have recently been exploring work done by the Willow Creek Church in the United States about discipleship. This significant study highlights how we grow in Christ and identifies many activities that help us on our journey with Christ. We will be exploring some of this material and what it might mean for us through Lent. However the most striking thing from this research is that it is our personal relationship with God, our love for God that is the biggest indicator of growth. Those who grow most quickly in discipleship are not those who do most, or who have the most peace, or the easiest life. Those who grow most are those who are striving to become totally Christ-centred in everything, loving him more deeply – and from that flows the life of God. I guess this shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Jesus asked Peter ‘do you love me’?

How do we love Jesus? By obeying His word; by immersing ourselves in Him; by seeking to serve Him in all things. And this love isn’t a soft squishy feeling, it is an act of will and desire and passion in response to God’s life-giving, gracious and generous passion for us.

Paul wrote ‘for me living is Christ and dying is gain’ (Philippians 1:21Open Link in New Window) and
‘I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ as Lord … I want to know Christ.’ (Philippians 3:7-11Open Link in New Window). It is from this passion and strength of love that we become powerful witnesses and servants of the gospel and the world becomes transformed.

Wouldn’t it be encouraging to increasingly demonstrate and share this love together as we worship and build community and serve God in the world?


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