The business of life has kept me busy, this week I admit to being out of focus. I am feeling much like I did before I started reading my Bible regularly. I feel like what I will refer to as the “casual Christian.” You know, what I am talking about… when you use your Bible like Google. For example, I have suffered the loss of a loved-one, go to the index look up verses on grief. Or, is the world going to end May 21st, check the index for the rapture. Then my personal favorite, I am struggling, what does the index recommend for that?
The index actually gave me one of my all time favorite verses from the Bible:
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
As a “casual Christian”, all this meant to me was it is ok to suffer because there is still hope that there is a “silver lining” somewhere. It solidified what I already thought; that many of the best blessings come out of a bad situation. I think in my initial reading I missed something critical. While I find peace in that we have hope in our suffering, which will give us perseverance and character; I missed the part about love. Verse 5 is a line from the most beautiful love story ever told.
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I am sure I could go on and on about the role of Faith in these verses too, but for some reason the love sticks out to me this time. I am reminded that love is really the most important thing. Without true and unconditional love, there could be no forgiveness. Loneliness and selfishness would be rampant. I guess for many in our society loneliness and selfishness is a normal life, but it doesn’t have to be. If we just took the time to love one another the way the Bible asks us to, common courtesy would come natural. After all, when you love someone it often makes the tedious chores more bearable. That is everything except mopping!
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, while we honor our Military and the sacrifices made for us, I pray that you will love easier. I pray that you will accept love, give love, and show love to those whom we are called to love. I pray also that you will remember Jesus, the one who made the first sacrifice for love.