Some folks just have a way with words! Humor lets us smile at a recognizable truth. In this case, we know the necessity of a well defined mission, goal or destination. Goals allow us to order our steps and our work. Getting from A to B is all about knowing one’s destination. Goals and destinations are necessary for personal or business success. They are essential to live life God’s way. The good news is God has set our goal. The bad news is many Christians have let language and culture define it. How is that possible?
Here is our mission: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Language hinders understanding. We love our car, we love our toothpaste, we love our spouse, we love God, and we love the movies. See the problem? If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll end up someplace else. Our culture makes it even more problematic.
Debbie and I were high school sweethearts. One of our first dates was to see Love Story. The defining line of that movie was, Love means never having to say you’re sorry. Huh? Modern culture has equated love with sex. The ensuing emptiness proves love is more than sex and sex easily exists apart from love. Then there is love and sentimentalism. Love is so much more than mushy, gushy feelings. When real love is present, feelings will follow. But the feelings do not define love. How can we know what God’s goal looks like?
Based on the examples above, we should look elsewhere for an example of love. How does God love? A clue is found in Deuteronomy 7:7 and 10:15. In these verses, God says He has ‘set His affection’ on Israel through no doing of their own. So, God’s love was an act of His will. He chose it. Unlike humans, God lacks nothing and needs nothing. Therefore, His choice to love cannot be about self gratification. It’s to benefit the objects of His love (you and me).
Looking at the life of Jesus, His coming to earth in human flesh was a destination. Where did the journey begin? To arrive here, He left the splendor of heaven. He chose to sacrifice for the benefit of others. His death on a Roman cross confirms the idea of sacrifice, but the cross is where sacrifice ended, not where it began. There is another facet of God’s love to be noted. But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8. God’s example says genuine love expresses itself. It demonstrates its existence through action.
This post provides the barest foundation for understanding real love. Love’s mission is to sacrifice for the benefit/betterment of another. That choice will be demonstrated. Apply this understanding to our God-given mission/goal: Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Space only allows a start, but ‘finishing’ the application is a life-long mission. Loving Him means choosing His ways and His thoughts over my own. That is demonstrated by obedience to His ways and His thoughts (found in His Word). Loving Him means sacrificing anything about me that isn’t for His benefit.
You’re already thinking that I said God is complete and lacks nothing and needs nothing. That’s true, but there is something we can give Him because He is the only One worthy to receive it: glory. In fact He tells us, Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. He died for us; we live for Him and His glory.
Now, we have a good idea of our mission. Don’t end up someplace else!