In our Word of Life quiet time book, we are in James, and I'm REALLY enjoying it. We were in Psalms and I'm the kind of person that loves comfort and consistency so much that when the book switched from Psalms to James I got a little sad. Psalms is comforting, but James is challenging. But a challenge is good, and I'm really loving it.
James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 2:15-16 - "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
The song "The Proof of Your Love" comes on my Pandora ALL the time while I'm working during my planning period at school. Today I was listening to it on the way home from a wonderful weekend in Boone, and I kept thinking about those verses in James. James was speaking to the church and telling them that faith without works was nothing.
And without love, those works are not sincere and meaningful.
They mean nothing.
"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)
You can be the "best Christian ever," but if you don't have compassion and love for everyone you meet, it doesn't matter. You can be the best motivational Christian speaker, but if you are void of love and care for those you come in contact with, they won't be encouraged. You can ask someone how you can be praying for them, but if you don't do it sincerely and out of care and concern for the person, it is meaningless. You can donate all day every day to charities but if you don't think twice about those less fortunate and donate out of love, it is all in vain.
You'll end up turning people away from the One who loves them more than anyone.
I want MY life to be the proof of Jesus's love. He went through betrayal and suffering beyond our comprehension and yet loved us enough to die for us. That perfect love must be carried on through His followers. His love must outshine anything else we stand for because His love is the only reason we are all here. I want people to see God's love through me above all else because that's the most important thing in this world.
I want to encourage those who need encouraging, give to those less fortunate, and care for those who feel hopeless, but not only that, I want to show love to everyone I meet because Jesus loves us all! I don't want ANYONE to ever say that I turned them away from a relationship with Jesus because I didn't show love.
So whatever you do, do it with love.