Sixth Sunday After Pentecost: Love Is The Fuel For The Christian Life
The gospel of the new covenant is essentially this: that we can partake of the Divine nature. God's nature is LOVE - and the most important characteristic of love is that it does not seek its own. It was because Jesus did not seek His own that He came down from heaven to earth to save us. God compares His love for us to that of a mother for her nursing babe ( Isaiah 49:15 ). A mother's love for her newborn baby is the greatest demonstration of love that one can see on earth - for a good mother does everything unselfishly for her child, expecting nothing in return. This is how the love of God is too - and this is the nature that we are to partake of. Then we will be able to serve God's people like Jesus Himself did.
Love is the fuel that runs the Christian life. A car has to be pushed when the gas-tank is empty. Even so, where fervent love for the Lord has dried up, our labour for Him will become heavy and burdensome, like pushing a car. Then it will also become difficult to bear with the weaknesses and follies of others around us. So we need to keep going back to the petrol-bunk (gas-station) again and again to fill-up. "Be filled with the Spirit continuously".( Ephesians 5:18 )
Victory over anger and lusting with the eyes are by themselves only a preparation for the ultimate goal of partaking of the Divine nature itself. Our flesh is utterly selfish, and it is this selfish nature that has to be put to death daily. We are not to seek our own gain or honour or comfort, or anything that is our own - for that is the way of eternal death.
The way of life is the way of giving ourselves utterly to do the will of God alone for our lives, whatever that may cost us.
We must judge ourselves every day, and many times each day - not by looking inward, but by looking up at Jesus - and thus discover the areas where we are seeking our own and not the glory of God. Then we can cleanse ourselves from that self-seeking. This is the pathway to perfection. Very few are interested in cleansing themselves so faithfully from ALL filthiness of the flesh and the spirit ( 2 Corintians 7:1 ) - and that is why very few grow up to a genuine godly life.
Jesus said that only "men of violence" will possess the kingdom of God ( Matthew 11:12 ). What that means is that we must do violence to everything within us that stands in the way of obedience to God's commandments.
It is not by our obedience to the big commandments that we prove our obedience.
No. Jesus said that he who obeys and teaches others to obey the least of the commandments will be called great in God's kingdom ( Matt.5:19 ). A little child's obedience is not tested by his not murdering anyone or by not committing adultery in school. No. It is by his obeying his mother when she calls him to help her, when he himself wants to play. So it is in our relationship with God as well. It is in the little things of daily life that we are to be faithful. Otherwise we are disobedient.
In Matthew 13:43, Jesus said that "the righteous will shine forth as the sun". The sun is constantly on fire at millions of degrees. No germs or bacteria can therefore survive on it. That is how the Lord wants us to be too - always on fire for Him, always zealous and fervent for purity, to serve others and to bless them, to humble ourselves, to give a testimony at our work, and always on fire to build the Church. Our men should be in the forefront in this matter. In the next three verses ( Matt.13:44 to 46), Jesus explains how we can be on fire always, through two parables (one about the treasure in the field and the other about the pearl of great price). In both of them, we find this one phrase repeated - "He sold all that he had". That is the secret. We have to give up our self-will, our rights, our honour, our privileges, everything. Only then can we be like the sun - always on fire.