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Devotionals

Love-based Simplicity - First15 - October 7, 2017

Love-based Simplicity

Weekly Overview:

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time this week looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.

Scripture:“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” >Colossians 3:14

Devotional:

God’s command to love affords us a life of simplicity that can only be found in his kingdom come to earth. Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Christianity is a simple religion. Jesus said that all of God’s commandments can be summed up with one word: love. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” How is it then that our spirituality often feels so complex and difficult? How is that we have a hard time experiencing the simplicity our faith affords us?

Complexity in Christianity finds its root in the attempt to live for both the world and God. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Loving God and people is simple. There is only one right choice before us in all that we do. Complexity enters into our lives as soon as we try and juggle living for the world and living for God. There is a fence between this world and God’s kingdom too high to straddle. It is impossible to put one foot in God’s kingdom while keeping a foot in the world.

God longs for you and me to make our first action every day to serve and love him alone. He longs to guide us into the incredible, abundant life that comes from seeking his kingdom above all else. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” You cannot have both love for the world and love for your heavenly Father. This world is at enmity with God (James 4:4). It is set against him and his ways. But you and I have been given a choice by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. We’ve been given a real, available option to serve and love the eternal, Almighty God.

It’s time for the bride of Christ to end its affair with the world. It’s time for us to let God love us and in response live for him alone. It’s time for us to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Choose today the simplicity of love. Serve God alone. And discover a life far greater than anything you could experience outside of living for God above all else.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the impossibility of loving God and the world. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to seek God first today in all that you do.

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” - James 4:4

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” - Matthew 6:24

2. How have you been in friendship with the world? In what ways are you trying to serve two masters?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:2

3. Confess any sin of pursuing the world to God and receive his forgiveness and love. God has total grace for us in our sin. All he wants is to guide us to a life more filled with his presence, love, and purpose. Don’t wallow in your sin. Receive God’s gift of forgiveness and choose to live differently.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9

It’s incredibly important as believers to acknowledge both our sin and the powerful transformation through God’s love that’s available to us. So often we allow our past sins and present failures to define us. In reality, we’re given an opportunity every day to receive God’s transformation and healing that we might live more like Jesus. Lamentations 3:23 tells us that his mercies are new every morning. If you will receive the mercies available to you today, you can choose to live your life differently. Have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you to help you. Ask him to show you the root of your sin that you might receive healing and transformation. May you discover today a wonderful life rooted in the simplicity of love.

Extended Reading: - James 4

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