The old song says "Everybody loves somebody sometime." This is true for everyone. from every race and nation people love. However, our love usually has a "shelf-life" or "conditions" applied to it. Our ability to love is either tied to certain persons, certain schools of thought, certain geographical regions, certain socio-economic groups, certain entities, certain ideologies, etc. Whenever the environment changes and we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, our love perishes... It vanishes... It withers. Perishable love has an expiration date.
Christianity without imperishable love is a dangerous thing. God's love knows no limits or boundaries. It thrives in places your love will not go. It lives in neighborhoods you won't drive through. It calls out in socio-economic groups you care not to associate with. It is present where you refuse to be. God is love without conditions... we are usually love with terms and conditions applied. God's love is imperishable, ours usually has an expiration date. Love that has an expiration date is dangerous because it doesn't represent Christ whose love has no such expiration. Limited, perishable love, is expected in the hands of pagans, but not expected in the hearts of Christ-followers. Just as Christ has risen imperishable, we too must be raised imperishable in our love.
John Wesley called true holiness (i.e. entire sanctification) the "perfecting of love." Notice that he did not call it the perfecting of church attendance, worship music, bible study, tithing, casting out demons, healing, tongues, interpretation, apostleship, teaching, pastoring, discerning or prophesying. No. Holiness is imperishable, unconditional, all-encompassing love. Just like the LORD we say we follow. All of those other activities are needed now to do ministry work for the LORD in this age. Paul knew this when he spoke to the Corinthian church telling them what would fade and what would remain. Love is the only thing that goes with us into eternity. The greatest evidence of the Kingdom of God coming near to a person is Imperishable love.
This Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, perhaps we should all seek the resurrection of our love in areas where we have clearly drawn boundaries.
LORD Jesus, who lives and reigns on high with the Father and Holy Spirit:
Help us in our weakness to perfect our love. Plant within our hearts the very same passion for your created race as You have. Forgive us for the ways our love diminishes when it leaves certain boundaries we have set. Test us in this and see if our love is true and authentic. Help us to grow in Your likeness. Forgive us for not representing You well when our love perishes. Forgive us. Sanctify us through and through. Empower us. Lead us.
Through Your power and Yours alone in the Name of Jesus.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.
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