Give us love, sweetest of all gifts... Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. – Ken Gire
In the Old Testament, God gave strict laws to follow – lots of clear black-and-white rules to keep us in line. Jesus changed all that, big time. With Jesus' death on the cross came the New Covenant – promises of God based on His love and grace, rather than law and performance.
This was a total paradigm shift, radically different from the past and the world today. It's vitally important that we "get it" in our minds and hearts if we want to experience new life the way God has designed it.
Let this soak in: God loves you so completely that you no longer have to follow the old law (or the new rules of contemporary religion) in exchange for validation and salvation. We are saved by grace because of God's love. The consequence of true love is gratitude, which in turn results in acts of love. Love, not law, now compels us!
... "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and will all your mind"; and "Love your neighbor as yourself." – Luke 10:27
"We love because he first loved us." – 1 John 4:19
This love is what drove Jesus, too. In his book Rest Assured, Bill Ewing says, "Jesus was so certain of His Father's love, and abided so completely in that love, that keeping the Father's commands came naturally. Doing nothing apart from God was His normal mode of operation. This is the way He lived, long before ever asking us to do likewise" (260). Jesus' desire was that God the Father live through Him.
Our good works aren't for brownie points, our salvation doesn't rely on them. Good works come from God's love overflowing through us. When we live so completely in that love, keeping God's commands comes naturally. This gives us invigorating freedom to focus on God's desire to love others through us.
Lord, thank You for Your encompassing love! I realize now that obeying You is not a matter of doing good things, but rather being in Christ's love. Give me a powerful awareness of Your love, so that I can be secure in it and rest in it, and let it flow naturally to those around me today. Amen
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