“Follow God’s example . . . and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us. . . . Now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:1–2a, 8b–10 NIV).
With our Bibles open to 1 Corinthians 13, we began our 12-step meditation about God’s top priority for every disciple with this statement: “The most fulfilling journey in life is the path of a person who has an intimate relationship with God, and who faithfully follows Him. Is it the easiest path to walk? No. Is it the inside track to popularity? No. But is it the inside track to joy? Yes, for eternal reasons.”
- Our life on earth is mostly about relationships. And our life in eternity is all about one key relationship: our relationship with God.
- Any disciple who focuses only on growing in knowledge and skill will fail sooner or later. Why? Because “Knowledge + Skill – Character => Collapse.”
- A true follower of God is known for reflecting His love. The evidence of His love in that disciple will be Christlike character: “Knowledge + Skill + Character => Worship!”
- Our walk with God is our greatest witness to the work of God—and our worship of God.
Looking forward, we learn that our lifestyle values and choices on earth today impact rewards that God wants to give us in heaven tomorrow. For example, He virtually underlines His priority on Christlike character as He identifies various “crowns” that He will graciously grant to us:
- 1 Corinthians 9:25 speaks of an everlasting crown for running our race with self-discipline.
- James 1:12 describes a crown for enduring in our walk of love even under great duress.
- 2 Timothy 4:8 tells of the crown of righteousness for finishing our race with trustworthy integrity, not compromising our faith.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:19 reveals the crown of joy for diligent ministry through which souls are won and faithful walks matured.
- In 1 Peter 5:2–4 we learn of the crown of glory God has for disciples who set examples of kindness as they selflessly care about and help others.
“So . . . what is the bottom line?” you ask. Here’s what matters most to God: His will for you and me is that we make worship a lifestyle; that is, we honor God acceptably with our heart, mind, and strength. That is how we will “walk in love.” His Spirit in us will enable us. Alleluia!
© 2018 John C Garmo