Have you ever asked, “Why did God make us … only for us to die and be apart from one another?” “Why get married then be separated by death?”
Questions like these are stirred by our quest to understand God’s purpose. There’s nothing wrong with us asking these questions. God knew you would ask. And he’s prepared an answer for you.
Ephesians 1:4-6 reads,
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
God didn’t wake up one morning and haphazardly decide to form a ball, dig in the dirt, and scoop you out.
He planned, set things in order, gave his son directions to be carried out later, then put everything into motion.
After we went astray, he could have withdrawn his hand and turned his back on us. Instead, he followed through with his commitment to love us … planning to love despite our failures. Take a closer look at Ephesians 1. This time let’s zoom in on the adoption:
“In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ …”
This means God prepared a way for us after we fell. He loved us so much that he was unwilling to leave us on our own. He made a way to reconcile us to himself.
God loved on purpose. This is God’s intent. This is who he is. This is his commitment. We might refer to this as a reckless love … a love without boundaries … a love without fault … an endearing, long-lasting love. If you think of God’s love in this manner, you’d be correct.
We are called to mimic not only his sacrifice but also his love for us.
What is it about us … as a people … that causes us to envy one another? What creates our quarrels and causes you to “lose your religion?”
Go to Ephesians 2:10 and read,
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
“… prepared in advance?” A workmanship? Created to do good works? What good works?
Many of us in the body of Christ are excellent in the mission field. We’ve seen countless videos of those who work tirelessly in the jungles of Africa, on the cold streets of Russia, under the watchful eyes of China. Under our breath, we mumble, “I wish I could do that.”
Those wishes sometimes catch us at a weak moment and it turns to envy. Envy causes us to fight.
Go to James 4:1-3 and read,
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
This verse covers more than worldly possessions. It covers any and everything that battles or conflicts with the Holy Spirit living within us. It covers our covetous desires to be like sister “so and so.” It covers the desires for your husband to be more like “Brother Moore, Larry, and Henry Joe.” It covers the desires to contribute hundreds of dollars to missions like the rich family over there and covers your urges to butter up to another brother so you can learn how to preach and gain the respect he’s been given.
God has apportioned all of us a gift and talent he desires for our lives. And one of the most precious gifts he’s given us is the gift of love. He commands it and demonstrates how to acquire it, use it, implement it, and to pass it on.
You see, no matter where you are placed in the body of Christ, we are to sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron and to love without favoritism. (Prov. 27:17; James 2:9)
We must, like God, Love on Purpose. We must plan on it. We must center our lives around loving each other. Our every intent when we come together when we pray, when we’re apart when we have a difference of opinion when our politics have instigated a divide when things aren’t going well financially or otherwise … Our every intent … our forever purpose must be to love one another.
Sometimes, we slip up and … say and do things … that we intended to keep hidden. We intend for our negative attitudes to stay behind the curtain, hidden away from our sisters and brothers in the church. We fool ourselves into thinking that our hearts won’t really be revealed to the naked eye.
But God says in Matthew 6:21,
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This passage is revealing to us that whatever your intent … whatever it is you deeply feel, it will be known. Really? Yes. Your heart follows what you treasure. Your heart acts out or reveals what you treasure most.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. (Proverbs 27:19)
So, if you have a negative opinion about someone … if you are angry and trying to hide it … if you hate but smile in disguise … if you speak softly, but inwardly want to murder … if you act kindly, but want to belittle and tear down those you love, IT. WILL. EVENTUALLY. BE. REVEALED. Why? Because you will act out what you truly believe. Because your heart cannot be hidden. You may fool yourself into thinking you can hide it. But your heart cannot be hidden.
The love God intended for us to have for one another calls for us to deny ourselves. To carry the burden of others as if it were our own.
To love on purpose is a mindset. It’s not an emotion. It’s not driven by circumstance. It’s driven by the love we have received from God Almighty. When we self-reflect on the weight of our sins and how God himself has removed us from darkness, we become thankful, gracious, uplifted, relieved, and we become receptors of unspeakable joy. We are to pass this love on to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. And if we do or say anything to destroy or hinder the brotherhood of believers, we might as well fasten a yoke on our necks. For we are not enslaving and hindering a sister or brother, but we are thereby hindering ourselves and have become entangled in the wicked deeds of the evil one. (Galatians 5:1)
Think twice the next time unholy things are spoken. Think twice the next time you disguise your ill-intent. For God hears, sees, and knows the intent of your heart. (I Chron 28:9; I Samuel 16:7; Psalm 139:1-23) Humble yourselves therefore before the Lord. Speak as godly people. Speak holy and righteous messages one to another. For you are a royal priesthood, holy, and unblemished if you follow the Lord our God in your ways. (I Peter 2:9)
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
Things to remember and discuss:
- Self-reflect – Examine yourselves.
- Question your motives.
- Be honest with God. Confess your sins.
- Yield to the Holy One and submit yourselves to him.
- Seek the forgiveness of others.
- Don’t follow emotions. Follow truth. Search the scriptures for truth.
- Do what the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do.
- Speak righteously.
The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight. (Proverbs 15:26)