~ Choose the Good Portion – Week Ten ~
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~ Ephesians 2:10 ~
The night before my husband and I got married I wrote him a letter that told him of how excited I was to be his wife and how I planned to love him with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love for the rest of my days. I wasn’t so naive to think it was going to be easy. I knew marriage took work. But I loved this man so much, and he was pretty darn near perfect, how hard could it be?
We’ve spent the last few weeks covering the beginning and middle of the greatest love story ever told. The love story within the sixty-six books we find in the library of the Bible. But what about the end?
That’s one of the cool things about this love story. This love story doesn’t have an end! This is a story that goes on and on for all eternity. God is eternal and never changing and He has created you because he loves you and wants a relationship with you!
I want you to know in your very being, and trust that His love is unconditional, everlasting, and full of grace. There is nothing in all of creation that will ever separate us from the love of God. Likewise, there is nothing we can do to earn His love because he already loves us. It is by grace that we are saved through faith in the ransom price of Christ’s blood shed for us. It is only that gift that redeemed and restored us to God. Trust in the truth of who He is. He is the embodiment of love and what He does is love us extravagantly!
Do you believe that? Is the truth of His love written on the wall of your heart so that you’ll never ever doubt His love for you? Good! Here’s another truth that also needs to be known. Relationship takes work.
That letter I wrote the eve before marrying my husband, was written from my heart with all sincerity. I fully intended to love him with patience, kindness, and gentleness. I fully intended to love selflessly, to not be rude or jealous, impatient or unkind. So, to answer my question above…how hard could it be?
If I’m being honest, I have failed to love my husband with this kind of love several, several times in our eighteen and a half years of marriage. My husband is my very favorite person on earth! But I have hurt this man that I love so very much. I have yelled at him, hurling very unkind and rude words his way. One of the reasons I fell in love with him is because he makes me laugh. He’s stinkin’ hilarious! But I haven’t always been patient with his silliness. In fact, sometimes my funny man greatly annoys me, especially before I’ve had my coffee in the morning. He travels for work a lot and gets to go to lots of beautiful and warm places. I am frequently jealous, as I’m left at home to parent our four kids on my own. This isn’t love in its best and fullest form. I want to love my husband the way he deserves to be loved, but I frequently fall short. It’s hard. It’s work. Relationship is work.
My relationship with my husband isn’t the only relationship that takes work. Being a mama to four kids. All my friendships. Every relationship I’ve ever been in takes work. They take time, effort, energy, selflessness, patience, grace, forgiveness and more. Even my relationship with God, who is perfect in every way, who loves me perfectly, provides for my every need, and gives me my heart’s desires and dreams, even that relationship takes work.
Because while God is perfect, I am not. Yes, God loves us unconditionally expecting nothing in return, but strong, healthy, great relationships are reciprocal. If you want a good relationship with God, you must reciprocate that love. And that takes work.
Guess what, guys, this is what God has called us to and what Jesus reminded us of in Matthew 22:37,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a commandment. The greatest commandment. We are God’s creation, and while we were created for love and relationship with Him, we were also created for good works which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in. We’re told,
be imitators of God, as beloved children.
~ Ephesians 5:1 ~
I’m not a scary movie person, but I have watched the JAWS movies and for anyone like my husband wanting to call me a wuss for thinking they are scary. Heckle away. I’m just fine being known as a wuss for thinking this movie is scary. I hate scary movies, including JAWS. But there is one thing I loved about the first JAWS movie. The scene between the father and son when they are sitting at the dining room table and the little boy imitates everything his daddy does. That is such a sweet moment! This is what we’re supposed to do with our heavenly daddy…imitate him. What does God do?
Mostly what God does is love…
~ Ephesians 5:1 MSG ~
But loving like God, isn’t easy. That’s why we’re told to pick up our cross, die to ourselves, and walk as Christ walked.
How did Christ walk? Well he was an imitator of His Heavenly Father…
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave of himself up for us…
~ Ephesians 5:2 ~
Love is part of relationship. Loving and relationship take work. In order to love God and others as God and Jesus do, we will have to give up ourselves. We may have to attend a hundred funerals a day as we learn to die to ourselves and let go of the life we want in order to live a full life in God.
But all, I promise you that choosing the good portion of relationship with God, is the best choice you will ever make. And the work you’ll put into your relationship with God and others, loving Him and others, is so worth it!
Pray this with me…
God, thank you for loving us unconditionally and extravagantly. Thank you that there is no end to your love and that nothing can separate us from You. Earning your love, after all you have done for us, Lord would be impossible and we’re so grateful that we don’t have to work to be loved by you. Thank you for the grace you gifted us with. God, we thank you for creating us for relationship with you. We also thank you for the good works you have created for us to do. We thank you that we have the job of loving You and others. Help us to be imitators of you, to walk in love and love well.
* Take time to read these scriptures today:
Romans: 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Ephesians 2:4-10 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
– Ephesians 3:19 MSG – Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
* – Ephesians 5:1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
*- Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG – Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
* Think About It:
Take time to read 1 Corinthians 13. The whole chapter. It isn’t long. In fact, it’s very short. But in the thirteen verses that comprise the thirteenth chapter of the first book of Corinthians, you will find the most amazing definition of deeply devoted, selfless, and unconditional love. In your journal, take notes of any thoughts or questions you have while reading this beautiful passage called the Love Chapter of the Bible.
Blessings to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!
All biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.
*Ephesians 5:1-2 are quoted in both ESV and MSG translations because I love both translations equally and wanted to share them with you, my friends.