Nothing but Love
So many things in it tell us about relationships with the Lord and the creation of God. I find it interesting to sense what the angels do. My wife and I have begun reading aloud, Paradise Lost by John Milton. Milton is eloquent as he captures in his imagination the conversation of Satan and his fallen cohorts -- paradise lost -- and what was the rankling in the heart of the "source of evil" as he plotted and rebelled against God. He imagines what would enter the heart of an archangel that would cause him to challenge the Infinite.
We can also know something of that when we read the first sentence in First Corinthians 13: "If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels...." Consider the eloquence of angels. That is captured in the words that Milton has penned for us about the dialog of Satan and his cohorts in Paradise Lost. Yes, the eloquence of angels, fallen angels as well, can be very convincing. Recall what happened in the Garden of Eden.
"If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels but have no love, I become no more than a blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all."
I take particular note for myself when Scripture says that we are nothing. Now, those of you who love God's Word have already thought of the Scripture of which I am thinking. In the fifteenth chapter of John, when Jesus characterized Himself as the Vine and us as the branches, He says: "I am the vine itself; you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For apart from me you can do nothing at all."
Somebody said to me recently, "I've had a lot of luck in this life, and I'll take whatever comes hereafter." Many prayers have gone up for this person, but that attitude is hazardous and disappointing. Just because life has been wonderful and things have turned out fortunate, he'll just take whatever comes, without much care for the eternal.
Jesus Christ pointed out in His word that if we are apart from Him, no matter what would appear to be meritorious in our lives -- what would seem marvelous in its achievement -- it will be nothing if we are not in tune with Him, the Savior of the world.
As a counterpart to that, in this very same letter, Saint Paul gives a very hopeful expression: "So, brothers of mine, stand firm. Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord's work. Be sure [assured] that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted."
We have a contrast here. You call spend you whole life doing things, and it amounts to nothing in the sight of God. Or, you can spend your life in the Lord's work, and what may seem to be a loss -- lost opportunities, things you might have done that you set aside to serve the Lord -- is never lost. On the one hand, all that you do can be lost; on the other, all that you attempt can never be lost. It is not a hard choice for me! What is the safe turf upon which to play? I'll tell you: to serve the Lord is the most rewarding activity of every moment of your life.
When you step into an activity today, when you are going to perform something that takes your attention and requires energy, time, resources --be sure that it is coming from the fountain of a heart of love. If it is not, you are wasting your time.
So, my dear friends (and so I speak of myself), we must have very close to our hearts, the barometer of love and the pressure of affection in the involvement in which we find ourselves. That is the test. Happily, we know that the love that is abounding is the love that comes from God Himself: For God so loved, He gave Jesus. And Jesus prayed with such love for us.
That is why we must feast upon the words of Christ and see the meaning of that love that he says we can have, and find it in our hearts. How do you react when someone hurts you or yours? Can you love your enemy? For me that is a cardinal test. It is very easy for me to love those that love me, but it is the love Jesus offers to us with which I can also love those who have not been kind.
If we don't have the love of Christ, we amount to nothing, but isn't it wonderful that with His love, we cannot lose?
The Pillar Monthly