Love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is this: Live a life of love.-2 John 1:6 (NCV)
The most important lesson he wants us to learn on earth is how to love, because in loving, we are most like him. Loving can’t be learned in isolation, but in close fellowship with other believers. We learn 3 truths:
–The Best Use of Life is Love: “Let love be your greatest aim”. Relationships must have top priority in our live because
Life without love is really worthless. As Paul says, “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love”. 4 of the 10 Commandments deal w/our relationship w/God, the other 6 deal w/our relationships w/people—but all 10 are about relationships. Jesus summarized what matters most to God: love God & love people. “You must love the Lord your God w/all your heart…the 1st & greatest commandment. A second equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself”.
After learning to love God (worship), learning to love others is the second purpose of our lives. Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life. Wisdom is learning this truth sooner rather than later. Unfortunately in our everyday overloaded schedule, what’s most important to God is displaced by what’s urgent.
Love will last forever. “These 3 things continue forever: faith, hope, & love. And the greatest of these is love”. Love leaves a legacy—how we treat other people is the most enduring impact we can leave on earth. Mother Theresa said, “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters”. When our life on earth is ending, what we want around us are the people we love & have relationships with.
We will be evaluated on our love. God measures spiritual maturity by the quality of our relationships. He will review how we treat others, particularly those in need. Warren suggests when we wake every morning, we pray—“God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure I spend time loving you & loving other people—because that’s what life’s about. I don’t want to waste this day.”
–The Best Expression of Love is Time. The importance of things can be measured by how much time we are willing to invest in them. If you want to know a person’s priorities, look at how they use their time. Because it’s something we can never get back, the greatest gift we can give someone is our time. Relationships aren’t enough, we must invest time in them—the essence of love is how much we give of ourselves. Focused attention is the gift of love, not gifts—because when we give our time, we are making a sacrifice, which is the essence of love. Women & moms know this best.
–The Best Time to Love is Now because we don’t know how long we will have the opportunity—people die, our children grow up.
Warren says, knowing we will stand before God one day, here are the questions we need to consider: How will we explain those times when projects or things were more important to you than people? Who do we need to start spending more time with? What do we need to cut out of our schedule to make that possible? What sacrifices do we need to make?
Warren reminds us: The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.
Question to Consider: Honestly, are relationships my first priority? How can I ensure that they are?
They are–as I’ve said in an earlier post, women & moms prioritize relationships. We know love means giving up & yielding our preferences, comfort, goals, security, $, energy or time for the benefit of someone else. If you read The Shack, God tells Mack that it’s easier for women to have a relationship with God because they already prioritize relationships in their lives, however men prioritize careers & accumulation of things over relationships w/people & God, thus have a much harder time. That said, I think this question, this day’s topic should be shared with our significant others and with our children, helping them to understand what God ultimately wants from us all. Whenever issues arise I believe we all discuss this with our partners, but I was amazed last week when I posed Warren’s questions “when we stand one day before God..” how something so logical to women, is sometimes not grasped as well by our spouses. Share this Day with your partner & your children.
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.