I used to think that I could arrive in life by climbing an imaginary ladder of success. Striving to prove myself, I spent years trying to be a good Christian and live up to who I thought I should be. I had a deep desire to do what the bible told me and to live my life devoted to God.
Which most of the time meant – doing it right.
Yet no matter how hard I tried I kept messing up. Either I was on the failing end, or on the end who was declaring the failure in others. I had an internal checklist of do’s and don’t’s that never let me off the hook and I became defensive toward anyone who corrected me or potentially questioned my performance.
But in the midst of all of that, I was missing the whole point of the bible. I was so caught up in all the rules and instructions that I missed the gospel in its entirety. Being righteous and being kind are not always the same thing, and it’s actually pretty difficult to embrace them simultaneously. But Love changes everything. Even the things that you think you are “right” about get rearranged in the eyes of Love.
LOVE is the greatest commission because it is the motivation behind it all – the baptizing, saving, and preaching the good news.
I’m not talking about being rescued from the external circumstances of life and never having a bad thing happen to me. I’m talking about a Love so deep, that even in the face of pain, it keeps me safe inside.
Jesus came as the Messiah to bring a message of hope that would change everything. But even the disciples were confused by his method as king. They wanted circumstances changed, they wanted him to fight. They wanted a valiant king to take his throne.
But He knew that the most sustaining, satisfying, never failing route into abundant life – is on the inside. Seasons change, jobs fail, relationships come and go, and life can be full of unknowns. Our external lives will constantly be moving, but Love can always stay.
He Commissioned the disciples to GO and tell everyone about this new way of Love. They already knew about following all the rules! What Jesus brought to their lives was a fierce kindness, restoring people, courageously loving the unloveable, and teaching them how to live in peace and unity with one another. He commissioned them to go out and shock the world with this new ingredient about God, the one that generations had waited for, a Messiah who truly saves – and meets the deepest cry of our hearts ~ love.
Every one of us is designed for it, and the rules were not meeting its need. But He gave us what He made us for. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the ultimate sacrifice for the unworthy to be found wanted, to be loved.
He revealed that healthy relationships are kind, gentle, empowering, and safe.
I believe that He desires for all of humanity to know this love. He made a Way so that we could experience the freedom to live as we were designed to – not so that we could attain perfection. He wants us to be saved and set free from the things that are keeping us from experiencing His love. All of the forgiveness and healing and redeeming that He does inside of us is to make room for His love to find its home within us – so that we can have a new Way of life.
When we encounter His love, it changes our entire lens of the world around us and we will never be the same.
“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:15-19 (msg)