For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 15
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2
Jesus told us that the most important thing in all of life is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (see Mark 12:30). This is a picture of a man or woman whose total being is completely aligned in unity with God. When we are walking in unity with God, we will experience four unique benefits that Paul outlines in this passage. Let’s consider the second benefit to unity with God today.
4 Benefits to Unity with God –
- Encouragement in Christ: Do you need to be comforted or spurred on? (See Day 14)
- Comfort from His Love: This is a very specific type of comfort drawn from a distinct source- comfort from His love. Have you ever struggled with being loved? Many people do not believe they deserve to be loved. Perhaps they have been abused, abandoned, or left alone, but whatever the reason, they live in hurt because they cannot accept love. Paul says that when you become one with Christ, you will receive “comfort from His love.”
Imagine two hearts, one is labeled as God’s, the other is labeled as your own. Many people believe that God’s love for us is tied by the string of performance. “If” you try to do good, go to church, read your Bible, etc., “then” God will show you love and affection. This “If-Then” concept of love is transactional, and it is at the root of legalism and works based religion. When you perform well, you can become puffed up by self-righteous pride, but when you perform poorly, you can become despondent and despair that God could no longer love such a wretch as you. When push comes to shove, the driving force for your religious performance is not love, but fear.
The love of God is very different than this transactional miscarriage of religion. God’s love cuts the line between affection and performance. The love that God has for us is completely independent from our religious performance. Love is not the absence of expectations, it is the absence of strings. For this reason, we are comforted – “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18. God loves you, not because you are a great person, but because He is a great God! “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
Do you need to be comforted by God’s love this morning? You might feel like you are a screw up… or just that your life is screwed up… but God’s incomparable, immeasurable, unconditional love is not impacted by your performance. Find comfort in this truth today.