Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Only Thing That Counts

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The Only Thing That Counts  
A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Galatians 4:6b (NIV)
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

In context this verse is in a discussion about circumcision. There were people in the early church who wanted to incorporate the Jewish law and the practice of circumcision into the lives of Christians. Paul is quite clear that in Christ circumcision has no value. What counts is faith expressing itself through love. So lets take a moment to look at where and how faith is expressing itself through love in our own lives.
If that’s what counts - how are we doing?

It is easy to think that by some religious act or sacrifice we can make ourself worthy of God’s acceptance. If we could just be good enough or Holy enough God would add some points in our favor. Because we are not as bad as that guy, so maybe we have a chance. I am happy to say it just does not work like that. We are never good enough. We might as well try and swim across the ocean.  Some might get farther than others but no one will make it on their own strength or efforts.

This section is pretty clear that religious acts like circumcision are not what makes you right, or worthy. If I believe that God has accepted me, because of what Jesus has done then my faith should begin to express itself in love for the one who has accepted me. No longer is the barriers of shame and guilt there to block my access to be with the one who loves and accepts me. No longer are the barriers of pride and self-sufficiency blocking the way to the one who loves me with out condition. He loves it when we realize how much we need Him. He calls us to come to him not based upon our own worthiness but by the way made by Jesus Christ.

Faith expressing itself through love shows up in many areas. For example if I really believe prayer makes a difference - I will pray. By faith I will express my love for others by praying and believing that prayer for them somehow makes a difference. If I have faith to believe that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purposes. I will express my faith through patience and trust that good is working even when circumstances may shout loudly that God has forgotten. If I really believe that He loves me as broken and sinful as I am by faith I will begin to express my love for him in thankfulness and in finding time to be with Him and know Him more.
We have to stop trying to gain Gods favor by our efforts or our good behavior and accept that he already loves us what He is looking for from us is faith that what Jesus did is enough and that we express that faith in how we love God and love others. As we spend time with Him his love fills us more and more and that love flows through out life into the lives of others. We are his hands and feet.
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Things to Ponder:
So how are you doing with faith expressing itself through love?
Dear Lord,
Help me accept what Jesus has done for me and to realize that there is nothing I can do to earn your favor, acceptance or approval. Help me to express my faith through love today.

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