Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 18, 2019
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, NLT
My grandmother always had a way of encouraging me but also challenging me to become better. One such occasion was my junior year in college. I had just given what I thought was a pretty good “sermon” at our evening church service. She greeted me with the smile of a proud grandparent, hugged my neck leaving a smudge of beige makeup on my collar and saying with matter of fact clarity, “Son, that was a good sermon, but you need to talk more about God’s love. You can’t talk too much about the Lord’s love.” Now at 58, I’m still trying to talk much more about the Lord’s love. She was so right, all these years of experiencing the Lord’s lavish love has motivated me out of gratitude and empowered me by God’s grace to grow a greater love.
With eloquent pen writing to those eloquent of tongue, the apostle reminds his readers to not exercise their gift of communication without love. An audience best comprehends with head and heart, when words are spoken from a loving heart and a humble intellect. The noise of pride drowns out an exquisite exposition of scripture. A well crafted speech or sermon deserves a selfless delivery whose only hero is Jesus. Not walking away with the accolades of “what a gifted communicator” or “what an anointed preacher”, but rather a heart and mind strangely moved by, “what a loving Savior”, “what a holy God” and “what a comforting Holy Spirit”. Preaching motivated by love has no place for self, only the cross of Christ, high and lifted up in love.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NLT).
Are your words laced with love spoken by one broken person to another broken person? Is your sermon delivered at the foot of the cross bowing in humble thanksgiving, praise and adoration, confessing the need for forgiveness and to forgive? Is your communication Christ-centered? We know we are no better than another, when we intimately know our heavenly Father and we are known by Him. Preaching motivated by love makes Jesus and others the heroes. We are the humble messengers lurking in the background. We are glad to make Jesus the center of attention.
The place of preaching in love is found in the prayer closet not in the pulpit. Love is illuminated in the dim part of the day on our knees, not on our feet in the bright lights. If we are broken men in private and silently meditating on Scripture to mold our soul in love, we will become broken men who publicly and fervently declare the Scripture in love. Preaching motivated by love offers truth that pierces the hardest of heart, heals the most hurtful heart and forgives the vilest heart. Like a magnet to steel, love draws all to the lover of their souls—Jesus—He is God. He is love!
“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me” (Philippians 1:15-17, NLT).
Heavenly Father, break my heart for what breaks your heart and fill my heart with love, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
How can my communication deflect attention from myself, making Jesus and others the heroes?
Love is illuminated during the dim part of the day in prayer. #wisdomhunters #love
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