“More, Better Love”

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:20-21 (NIV)

It’s New Year’s Eve, so it probably won’t surprise you that this post will be about New Year’s resolutions. Most of us resolve to do something in the interest of self-improvement: lose weight, quit bad habits, gain more money, more popularity, and more happiness. Most of these resolutions are distant memories by Groundhog Day. I have one resolution this year: to be more like Jesus. There is just one problem: I can’t.

What I mean by that is that I cannot force or will myself to be more like Jesus. The passage cited above makes that crystal clear. When I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I have been crucified with Him. No, I don’t die on a cross as He did. But I allow my old self to be crucified. The new self is surrendered to Jesus, to do with what He will. So, I will resolve to surrender more and more of myself to Jesus, in quantities I never have before. What does that look like? Well, it looks more like Jesus and less like me, to borrow slightly from a popular contemporary Christian song. A little more Him and a little less me every day. The key to this resolution is determining how to measure my progress.

In Galatians 5, Paul shares with us the Fruit of The Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” As this fruit becomes more plentiful in our lives, it is evidence of us growing in Christ. I’ve decided I’m going to lock in on the first of the nine: love. I will measure my progress by more, better love.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Am I loving more people and loving the people I already love more? Is my love better? In other words, does it look more like Jesus’ love? Oswald Chambers wrote: “The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God wants to use us as He used His own Son.”

That concept can be terrifying if we don’t add some context. First, “use us as He used His own Son,” refers to dying to the right to oneself, not dying on the cross. It means our entire purpose in life is to serve God’s purpose, as was Jesus’. Second, it’s important to remember that this type of surrender is only possible through God’s grace.

Try to imagine what the world would look like if everyone resolved to surrender more to Jesus: “by this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” More, better love. May it define your 2024 and beyond!

Pastor Jerry Bader

No Comments

Post A Comment