Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour"1 (Lyrics)
After three summers in my 34-foot fifth wheel, you'd think that I'd have figured out what works best and where to put everything, but this year, I discovered several ways to improve both the use and function of space. I replaced the couch (I never have company) with a five-foot table for sewing, bought a sturdier dining table, reorganized the kitchen area, and rearranged the seating/computer area. The result: I have a place for every object and every task — and it feels good!
Most of us have experienced something like this, realizing that there's a better way to accomplish a task, organize a room, live in harmony with a spouse or children, or be a friend. While these are all important and certainly make life easier and more pleasant, we also need to examine our spiritual lives to look for a better way to live for God. A good place to start is in His Word.
1 Corinthians 12:31 – But from your heart you should want the best gifts. Now I will show you even a better way. (NLV)
Having just written about spiritual gifts, in the next chapter, Paul introduces love as an even better way. In the first paragraph, he writes, not once, but twice, "If I … have not love, I am nothing … I gain nothing." In the second paragraph, he lists the characteristics of love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
That doesn't leave much doubt about the better way, does it? If we did nothing more than aim for all that's in this chapter, we would be en route to achieving the better way about as much as is possible this side of heaven.
But we can't do this on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to love as God loves: "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5b NIV)
We must study His Word for spiritual nourishment, just as we must eat for physical nourishment. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
We must spend time with Him in prayer: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12 NIV)
Finally, we must put love into action by serving Him in whatever capacity that He opens for us, by using the gifts that He has given us. "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35b NIV)
Is it time for some spiritual rearranging or reorganizing?
Prayer: Father, help us to order our lives in such a way that we bring glory to You, so that we exemplify the characteristics of love given in Your Word. Thank You for Your wondrous love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.