The Essential Mark

As Christians, we can share our testimony effectively, systematically, and clearly present the gospel. Our generosity can be remarkable, our service impeccable, but if all our gospel-centered effort lacks love, then it's all simply hollow action. This week we examine the spirit in which we live and serve the Lord. Scripture reminds us to let all we do be done in love. For there to be any power in discipling another through scripture, it must be done from a heart of love for Jesus. As you read this week's devos, pray that your heart will be drenched in His love. As you read, also feel free to repost and share them with others. 

Read:

"1Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Ephesians 5:1-2

Reflect: 

Walk in love. These three words inspire, stirring us to love others with the love we received from Jesus. But the apostle Paul didn't stop with inspiration, he moved on to instruction. And then, to strengthen his instruction, Paul pointed us to the individual who can be an example for us - Christ Jesus is our model for what walking in love looks like.

On the cross, Christ presented Himself to God as an offering. Paul adds it was a "fragrant offering," a phrase that appears forty times in the first five books of the Old Testament. The Lord's sacrifice was pleasing to His Father and was accepted as the means of reconciliation. When a Christian identifies with Christ in His death, the believer's life becomes an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Real love, Christ-like love, makes sacrifices for the good of others and the glory of God. This kind of costly love has a sweetness to it that others find attractive and encouraging. This love not only smells good, but it sounds good as well. There is something uplifting about being around people who have a song in their heart and encouragement on their lips. You notice these rare individuals and appreciate them because they are so refreshing to be around.

A life that is like the love of God, will be a life of love. Love is the essential mark of the Christian's character. Our model for love is Christ Himself. Because He laid down His life for us, we are to love others to the point of the sweet aroma of sacrifice. He now lives in us and through us, and that is why we are able to imitate Him and resemble Him.

Respond:

Lord, teach me to walk in love, staying close to You, so that Your presence will be a winsome aroma and a sweet song of worship to those around me.