“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2, NIV).
Over and over again, I have been struck by the prophet Bob Jones’ testimony. In the year 1976, he died and was brought back to life three hours later.* During that interim, He had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus. As part of that experience, Bob saw an immense line of people waiting to stand before the Lord. As each one approached, Jesus asked that individual just one question: “Did you learn to love?”
That one question cuts to the heart of what really matters in this life. It defines the meaning of all of our earthly existence. We are here to love.
When we stand before Him, our lives will be measured by our love. We talked yesterday about true greatness, which is demonstrated by a childlike spirit poured out in sacrificial service. The bottom line; the essence, of a life lived this way, is love.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3, NIV). It is entirely possible to live a life of service and sacrifice devoid of love, compelled instead by a sense of duty, or even fear. Such empty form bereft of agape will not count as greatness as we give account of our lives before the Great Throne.
It’s genuine selfless love that infuses our earthly lives with meaning and eternal worth. How we need the Holy Spirit to continue to transform us by the renewing of our minds! Daily, in the world around us, we watch as lives are measured by money. A “successful” individual is one who has attained a certain income level and the accompanying lifestyle to match.
Romans 12:2 exhorts us not to be conformed to this way of thinking. Daddy doesn’t want our mind and emotions ticking to this world’s rhythm. He doesn’t want us processing life the way those around us that don’t yet know Him process it. Our thinking, our feeling, our processing, is to be fundamentally different from the worldview of our culture.
Daddy wants to radically alter our value system. He wants to tear down the track inside of us that says, “The accumulation of wealth makes for a tremendously successful life,” and replace it with “Pouring myself out in genuine love makes for a tremendously successful life.” He wants to re-write the programming in the very core of us.
This may sound daunting. But please don’t fear; Holy Spirit is far more eager to do this job than you and I even are to have Him do it. As we continue to passionately pursue relationship with Jesus day after day, without fail, He will be keeping this promise to us:
The closer we walk with Him, the more indelibly His law of love will be inscribed into the quintessential substance of who we are. The closer we walk with Him, the more His tenderness will transform our lives into a truly selfless success.
When your life is over, how do you hope to be remembered?