I just finished listening to a challenging sermon series by Andy Stanley of North Point Church in Georgia. It’s potentially life-changing and hopefully church-culture-changing as well. You’ll find it here: northpoint.org/messages/brand-new/
In a nutshell, the takeaway from the series is that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection established a new model of faith, a brand new way of relating to God and to one another. Andy says the old way, known as the temple model, “grants extraordinary power to sacred men in sacred places who determine the meaning of sacred texts.” Andy goes on to say that even though Jesus came to destroy the temple and make a way for each one of us to be a temple, to be those sacred places, the old temple model has crept back into the way we do church today. He contends that our idea of going to church is stopping us from being the church.
Okay, I need to be the church, I get that. But, what does that even look like? Well, Andy finishes the series by giving us a question to ask ourselves. This question has the potential to shape every word we speak, every interaction we have and every relationship we’re involved in. It’s a question that forces us to take personally Jesus’ command to love God and love one another.
The question is this, “What does love require of me?”
It’s easy to ask, but not so easy to respond.
When that co-worker steps on my toes again, what does love require of me?
When that Facebook friend posts something that ticks me off, what does love require of me?
When a certain family member is pushing my buttons, what does love require of me?
When I have feelings of worthlessness and shame, what does love require of me?
I have challenged myself to write this question on my heart, and so far it has not been easy. But, I know this is how God wants me (and you!) to live. He has commanded us to run everything through a “love filter.” Knowing we would struggle, He even gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us along.
So, what does love require of us?