Currently appearing in the Free Methodist Sunday school Evangel is a valuable lesson I learned some years ago (6-26). My neighbor pastor gave me a piece of advice. “Take I-20 by way of Dallas,” he said.
Well, I admit two hundred miles of two-lane traffic on Hwy 287 did seem like a long drive to Youth Camp. I wanted to avoid Dallas traffic, but I went ahead and followed his suggestion. Very quickly, I discovered I could drive on Interstate highway most of the way, which left me only 20 miles of two-lane driving.
“I will show you a still more excellent way,” Paul told his Corinthian readers (1 Corinthians 13). Using such contrast, Paul argued for a spirit of love. Without love, wrote Paul, words sound brassy. Although Paul spoke eloquently and proclaimed the gospel with prophetic powers, his witness left his hearers cold and unresponsive--unless tempered with love.
That suggests to me that although I reflect a wide range of knowledge, a deep understanding of truth, and exercise a mountain-moving faith; without love, I really achieve little. For as Paul concludes, the letter kills. Life comes by way of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Paul drills deep into the core of this issue: “words without works equal waste”. Only a mature love understands the inadequacy of right desire and adequately pursues right conduct. “Reception of perfect love is by faith alone,” writes Otho Jennings, but “the practice of perfect love requires knowledge and improves with experience” (Geiger/ Further Insights Into Holiness/Beacon Hill/1964).
Outward values hold only temporary meaning, suggests Paul. They lack life--unless prompted by that deep, immoveable love that brings beneficial blessings through dedicated service that is prompted by knowing the true ways of God.
What we are matters even more than what we do, for what we are ultimately determines what we do (emphasis added). If we are right, we will do right. If we are not right, no abundance of rules and regulations will produce right living. Living the Christian life comes out of the overflow of God’s love that spills over into the heart of the receptive believer. Where we go and what we do only reflect further who and what we are within.
The best way to communicate an idea is to wrap it up in a person and send that person out. When God wanted to reveal His idea of love, He exported it into the world via the birth process. A hurting humanity reads that message in the journeys of Jesus, as He became the living embodiment of God’s love in its purest form, en route to the cross.
Long ago, Henry Drummond spoke to departing missionaries. His message to them drives home the insight we need for more effectively sharing our message this turbulent and hostile environment: “You can take nothing greater . . . than the impress and reflection of the love of God upon your own character” (emphasis added).
Love is the one universal language. Languages and dialects can take years to master and speak persuasively. Everyone understands the “unconscious eloquence” of love when it is poured out in compassionate service.That love makes the person the messenger, not the words spoken.
From Warner's World ... Our character--who we are--becomes our primary vehicle for communicating our message ...
this is walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com