Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"But, Where Exactly Are We Headed?"

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently" (1Peter 1:22).

One thing that has always impressed me about the Bible is how the writers so often capture so much in a single phrase. Today's verse is a great example.

Peter, that uneducated fisherman whose claim to fame is nothing other than that he walked with Jesus, writes to his friends and encourages them to let the life which Christ placed within them now find expression through them.

Let's examine his counsel, and see what it has to say to us today.

First, he points out that we can only purify our souls by obeying the truth. Peter knew this from personal experience. His entire life had been transformed by Jesus patiently working on him, while overlooking a thousand reasons to give up on him. And Peter, step by step, stumbling and bumbling most of the way, at length experienced the purity of soul that comes from obeying the truth.

However, as Peter points out, we can only obey the truth through the Spirit. This is an important point, for if we miss this piece in the process -- we become religious and unloving; legalistic and combative; filled with opinion, strife, and criticism.

The Phillips New Testament reads, "Some seem to have forgotten this and to have lost themselves in endless words. They want a reputation as teachers of the Law, yet they fail to realize the meaning of their own words, still less of the subject they are so dogmatic about!" (1 Timothy 5:5-7)

Friends, we are never made righteous by the power of our own efforts; it comes only and always through the work of the Holy Spirit, as He applies the Word of God to our lives in very personal and practical ways.

Next, Peter shows us that we must stay on course as the Spirit leads us "unto unfeigned love of the brethren" -- a love that is unpretentious, unselfish, and undeniable!

This is where we are headed. We are on a one-way trip with a one-stop destination. And while many hop on the band-wagon and ride along for awhile, the true work of grace will only be seen in those who go the distance -- to a place called "unfeigned love of the brethren."

Finally, Peter brings us the point of his exhortation -- all that remains now is for us to DO IT. "See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently!"

Never loose sight of this destination. Though the way may grow difficult, and your heart grow heavy, as you tavel though a land flooded with selfishness, pretention, and darkness -- you are headed for a City called LOVE.


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