A Love Explosion Called YOU!
by Pastor Gene
We all strive for purity as believers, right?
We want to be like our Lord and our Lord is pure in every way. In Him, John tells us, “is no darkness at all.” That, he says, “is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you!”
To walk with Jesus is to “walk in the light.” That place – the sphere of light – is where we must be if we want to have fellowship with him. In fact, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).
Jesus is the true light who has come into the world giving “light to everyone” (John 1:9).
So, what does purity look like? What marks it?
How do I know I’m touching the purity that God wants to find in me?
Well, James tells us. And I think his words form a powerful self-diagnostic for every born-again man or woman!
He writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
Two things here: one external, one internal.
First, the second – the internal. Pure faith is characterized by something that really only me and God see – that I keep myself “unstained” from the world.
The world is hostile towards God – it does all it can to separate me from a pure walk with Him. In his Systematic Theology, Lewis Sperry Chafer coined the phrase ‘Cosmos Diabolicus’ to describe Satan’s world system. The ‘world’ is the secular world energized by Satan, the “god of this age” who “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
It should be no surprise, then, that all Christians are admonished to be careful not to “love the world or the things in the world,” because “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
‘Yikes!’ And double-‘Yikes!’
So, first off, if my walk with Jesus is going to be pure, I must keep myself “unstained from the world” (James 1:27). There’s just no way around it.
The second mark of pure faith (the first one James mentions), is the one that really floors me: “visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”
Did you pick up on that?
James is saying that a “pure and undefiled” faith “before God, the Father” cannot be separated from serving others. If it has no outward expression, my faith is not pure. Period.
Because a genuine faith that is unspotted from the world will always drive me to do the things that are important to God. And serving others is VERY important to God.
It’s in our service that the internal purity of love and faith explode into the world to touch those around us. Just as the glory of God exploded into the world in a brilliant light that special night long ago when ‘shepherds were keeping their flocks,’ so God’s love explodes into the world through me when I serve others in His name (Luke 2:8-9).
Legalists never get this, but followers of Jesus do.
An expert on the Mosaic Law asked Jesus a question to test Him: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” He answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).
Love for God and love for my neighbor – these two commandments fulfill the whole of the Law.
O, may our hearts be pure! May our faith be pure! And may the love that God has sown within our hearts explode through us into the darkness that surrounds us!
Maranatha! Even so, come Lord Jesus!
To consider …
- Honesty time. Have you been cheating on your God? Carrying on a secret affair with the world? According to James, this is a VERY bad idea: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Honestly, is there any spiritual adultery that’s keeping you from being the explosion of love that God wants you to be to those around you?
- How pure is your faith? Internally? Externally? Has the purity of your life with God exploded into the natural world lately?
- James specifically identifies “pure” service as visiting “orphans and widows in their affliction.” I think the idea here is that we need to carefully examine our motives. Are we serving those we serve because we have some hidden motive other than love? Do we hope to gain something from our service? “Orphans and widows” are mentioned because they can give us back nothing materially. But, O the spiritual blessings that enrich us when we serve the Lord Jesus by serving them!
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