Let Love Lead Your Life
*originally posted at pearlsandpursuit.com
Being successful in God’s eyes means living a life dedicated to loving and serving others. Friend, I want you to get to heaven one day and be able to see that you’ve laid up treasure there by living your brief moments here with the extravagant, intentional love of God toward others.
God’s Definition of Success
There’s a very intense convo in Luke 11:37-52 between Jesus and some religious leaders. These were the church leaders of their day, the celebrities, the ones who had it all together and who everyone else wanted to be like. They had successful ministries. They preached and taught to the people. They did it all right, checked all the boxes, loved fame and influence, and lived the good life.
They looked really successful by all accounts. Except the only account that really mattered. Outwardly they had success, but from God’s perspective, they were frauds and failures because they did not love others. Jesus, in no uncertain terms, called them out for totally neglecting justice and the love of God. Scary thought: these were the type of people I would have looked up to in that time period. These would have been my leaders. They knew all the right answers and were excellent rule-followers, appearing to be right with God. Except they missed the whole point. They didn’t love people. Instead, they forced people to carry the heavy weight of demanding expectations and wouldn’t lift a finger to help them.
Love Required It
Jesus, on the other hand, came here and lived His entire life loving and serving others. He was constantly moved with compassion and generosity. He taught grace, mercy, and forgiveness toward others. Ultimately, He gave His own life and shed His very blood. Why? Because Love required it. He went as far as He had to go and did whatever it took to love and serve. He refused to think of Himself. He knew what He had to do and what it would cost Him- what you and I would cost Him, friend. And He paid it willingly because He was the embodiment of God’s love.
Loving and serving others will cost you. It should cost you. But we also have the promise from God that when we sacrifice for the sake of loving others, we are prioritizing God’s kingdom and wisely laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 19:21).
This challenges how I think about life, ministry and my greater purpose. Am I attempting to succeed at the wrong things? Maybe it’s not about me, but it’s really about others.
It’s not that I don’t have ambitions, goals or want to accomplish things. I have dreams I’m chasing and am striving to move forward. Yet as I consider my motives and what I really think it means to be successful, I’m arrested by this thought: I could be caught unawares by own assumptions. I could end up doing it all for nothing if I miss out on loving people. All my aspirations, ambitions and things I hope to become, will mean nothing if I have not been driven by the love of God.
It is alarmingly possible to live a whole life that is a success in the eyes of everybody else and then reach eternity only to find it hasn’t amounted to anything. The apostle Paul put it like this in 1 Corinthians 13: without love, I am nothing.
I am asking God on a daily basis to help me become a more generous and loving person. Friend, I encourage you to do the same. Let’s ask God what it means to sacrifice for compassion and the sake of others. To forget ourselves and view success as whether we’ve lived like Jesus and cared about what God cares about.
Living out Gods’ Love
To get practical, take a look at the people around you. Someone, probably several people, right next to you or down the street, is in need. You don’t have to go to a third-world country to see that people all around are desperate and searching for answers. They are waiting for justice and the love of God. They need compassion and mercy, they need Jesus, and if you’re a believer you are called to go and be this to them.
This truth could not be more important or relevant with what we are facing in the world right now. We will need to decide if we are going to be people who demonstrate God’s love and compassion, or whether we will be destructive, hateful, and angry. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
If you want to live a life of purpose, let God reframe your thinking with His priorities. Let justice and the love of God be your motivator. The enemy of your soul wants you to live a selfish life in the service of your own wants, desires, fame, notoriety and comfort. God wants you to live an abundant life full of joy and free of the bondage of self-worship. He calls you to trust Him with your very life so that He can help you give it all away.
Let love be your highest goal.– 1 Corinthians 14:1