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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of July 9, 2012

Everyday things become of little meaning in the face of death.

In Western culture, many people place great value on possessions and on what one owns. This greedy mentality is embodied in the phrase: "He who dies with the most toys wins."

Yet when you die, you can't take anything with you: Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs (Ecclesiastes 5:15). It's no wonder that, when faced with the immediacy of death, one most easily realizes that everyday things are meaningless in the scope of eternity.

In Philippians 3:5-6, Paul lists many reasons why he could boast about himself. Yet, he recognizes that they pale in comparison to eternity, which is why he considers them rubbish in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:9).

All this "stuff" we chase after will be gone. Therefore, make it your aim to live with eternal purpose and invest in eternal things; to spend all you have on what lasts forever.

God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

God is love (1 John 4:8). God doesn't have to pretend to love you; He can't not love you, because He is love.

In fact, the very actions of God exemplify what love is. The apostle John explains that this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Only a few verses later, he further defines love: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9).

Notice that God's love for you is independent of how you behave, who you are, or how you respond to that love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that God loves us regardless of where we are: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus represents God's love for us in what we now call the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-24). In that allegory, the father openly and lovingly receives his son even though the son had run away, squandered all of his money, and insulted the father. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing you can do to get God to love you -- He already does. There is nothing you can do to deserve God's love, because, by sinning, you have turned your back on God and are fundamentally no different than the prodigal son. That parable is a clear reminder that God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.