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What if we’re missing the mark?

Would we even know? What is the mark?

Jesus said love is the goal, the main thing.

When an expert of the religious law asked him what the greatest commandment is, He replied, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” 

This is a significant revelation: All of God’s commandments and all of His messages through the prophets boil down to love. God is love, and all of His words and instructions are from a place of love and for the sake of love.

We underestimate how much love matters to God.

We make lesser things the main thing, and we make the main thing a lesser thing. We have good intentions, but our good intentions too often fall short.

The lesser things I’m speaking of can actually be great things…beautiful things…noble things. But they don’t even compare to the main thing. In fact, they’re meaningless on their own.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

You may speak in a way that compels and inspires others in extraordinary ways. Or maybe you have the ability to share God’s potent messages with others, or you’re skilled at understanding and explaining His Word and truth in a way that informs and corrects. You might have incredible faith that sees many supernatural answers to prayers. Or maybe you’re exceedingly generous and would sacrifice all that you have and even your own life.

That’s incredible. And yet – none of that means anything without love.

Is love characteristic of your life?

I’ll confess, I know I miss the mark. The reality is that we all miss the mark sometimes. Thankfully our gracious God extends mercy to us when we fall short, but in His grace, He also calls us to a higher standard.

“Love each other deeply with all your heart.” 1 Peter 1:22b

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:10a

Brotherly love. To be honest, when I think of brothers and sisters, love isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I’m in the thick of it with my two middle school children, who quarrel on a regular basis, so sibling rivalry is the first thing that comes to my mind. And when I think back on my own teenage years, I recall some very impassioned arguments with siblings, especially with my twin sister. Quarreling and arguing is a normal part of growth and development.

Likewise, it is normal that loving our brothers and sisters in Christ doesn’t come as naturally as fighting does. But just as parents (hopefully) seek to lead their children in forsaking hostility and pursuing love, Jesus is leading us in the way of love.

He doesn’t want us arguing and pointing fingers and counting ourselves experts in correcting the theology of others. (We’re guilty of this – just take a look at social media.)

Although the truth is very important, contending for the truth means nothing without love. We’re making too much noise. We’ve become noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. What difference is this making in an already divisive and boisterous world?

Do we trust more in our ability to fix things than in the power of God’s love working through us?

We haven’t been called to sibling rivalry.

We haven’t been called to isolation.

We haven’t been called to selfish ambition.

We HAVE been called to brotherly love.

In fact, we are to be devoted to one another in brotherly love and to love others deeply from the heart.

God is love. His goal and aim is that every follower of Jesus would walk in love, manifesting and experiencing His supernatural love in a way that astounds us and leaves a mark on the world around us. When we miss the mark, we miss out.

Jesus, forgive us for making the main thing a lesser thing. Help us to be devoted to one another in fervent love. We don’t want to miss the mark. We don’t want to miss out. And we don’t want others to miss out on experiencing Your love. Faithful are You who have called us. We know You will be faithful to do this. Amen!

Kimberly Vaughn

Kimberly Vaughn is The Connection’s blog editor, as well as a co-leader for their mentoring program, “Together.” She is a wife and a homeschool mom of two. Kimberly has been involved in various aspects of ministry since graduating from Bible college 20 years ago. She has a passion to encourage and build up other women, especially those who are hurting and broken. It is her desire for others to experience hope and transformation in Jesus through the words she writes and speaks.

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