A Labor of Love

heartI literally ran past a chance to share God’s love. I was running down the shore line of Myrtle Beach with some friends and ran right past Joe. Well, Ryan and I kept running, Garret stopped. On our way back, Garret and Joe had started a great conversation. We stood next to them trying to catch our breath. Joe shared his story, and one part still haunts me.

While living in another city Joe was befriended by some Christians. He truly thought they loved and accepted him. When they encouraged him to become a Christian he declined, and they did the unspeakable. They dropped him. No more communication, no more relationship, no more love.

Joe’s view of Christianity was forever altered. To Joe Christianity equaled conditional love. Christians find it hard to adjust to God. The early Church struggled with this same problem. Rather than adjust their ways to God, they chose to adjust God to their ways. This has caused an identity crisis that has spanned centuries. The Church doesn’t know who they are?

“Rather than adjust their ways to God, they chose to adjust God to their ways…
the Church doesn’t know who they are“

Who are you? Are you really who you say you are? Our lives are caught in a battle for survival. On the one hand, we fight and claw to stay in control, be the master of our destiny, and make our dreams a reality. This is our human nature. On the other hand, we are guided by a better way. A way that puts others first, seeks to forgive, and extends grace and love no matter what happens. This is our spiritual nature. Who are you? Are you naturally or supernaturally made? Do you seek to gratify your need for love or seek to share from the overflow of God’s love?

The Church of Corinth struggled with the concept of supernaturally being made new. They struggled to the point of denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul reminds them that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is what gives them faith, hope, and love. If the resurrection was not real, then everything before and after the death of Christ was at best a bad joke.

“The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the binding of the story book of God’s revelation.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the binding of the story book of God’s revelation. Without it, the story falls apart. With it, Christians have faith, hope, and love. Faith in something too big to understand, hope in a God that fulfills his promises, and love that reshapes every belief and action a Christian has. With the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Church can be assured their labor in the Lord is not in vain. Lets take a closer look at that assurance.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58

Be Steadfast / Immovable
These are strong words. These words suggest a deep strength, confidence, and reliance in Christ and the Word of God. These words imply that the world has no bearing on the Christian’s decision making.

What obstacles cause you to waver?
How could you be more steadfast and immovable?

Always abounding In the work of the Lord
In this text always abounding means…always abounding. This section indicates that in the life of a Christian there is not a thought, idea, response, word, or action that is wasted. Christians have the potential to be Jesus with skin on…always abounding.

Understanding that each of us are a work in progress, what is God asking you to let go of, so His,“Always abounding work” can become more characteristic in your life?

Knowing in the Lord your labor is not in vain
The key wording of this section is, “in the Lord.” In the Lord we know our thoughts are pure. In the Lord we know our actions are just. In the Lord we know that our relationships, our families, our jobs, and our existence are eternally significant. When we are in the Lord we can know that whatever our Labor, the journey brings honor and Glory to God and points us to our future glory in heaven.

What causes you to doubt your labor in the Lord?
What percentage of you is “In the Lord”? What could God be asking you to surrender so your life is more grounded in Him?

what-is-loveWe talked to Joe for almost an hour. We shared God’s hope and love, and we expressed what life, “in the Lord” could be like. He didn’t surrender his life to the Lord, but I have faith that he will, and I’m confident that our Labor in the Lord was not in vain.

What is your confidence in?

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