I was reading yesterday from Oswald Chambers’ little volume on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and came across this potent paragraph:

There is a difference between devotion to principles and devotion to a Person. Jesus never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself—For My sake. Discipleship is based not on devotion to abstract ideals, but on devotion to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. . . (P.4).

The words “for My sake” jumped out at me, and some things that had grown fuzzy and unclear over time suddenly crystallized again: the fundamental reason Jesus gives me for obedience, holiness, and faithfulness to Him is simply because I love Him, and He is worthy of my affections. Period.

There are many secondary motivations for living, or attempting to live, “the Christian life.” But the primary and therefore most important reason is because of love for the Son of God. He deserves my love and devotion, and how I live, talk, emote, relate to others, think in my secret heart – all of it affects Him. Jesus is a person in love with me, and how I respond to Him and to the situations of life impacts Him as the lover of my soul.

It’s pretty plain in the Bible – the first and greatest commandment is about loving Him with every part of my human being. My heart, my soul, my mind, and my physical strength are all drawn into this command: Love Me with everything you’ve got!

The message of the Sermon on the Mount is clear. I can’t do this without the Holy Spirit. He is the true Lover of Jesus, and the One who empowers me to love Him the way the Father loves Him. 

Because of life’s difficulties that confront us day by day, obedience and faithfulness that is not motivated and empowered by love will soon deteriorate into angry legalism and religious intolerance at best, or at worst an abandonment of faith and hope. Only love for Jesus and love for others for His sake carries the power to keep my heart fresh and soft, my emotions tender, and my life journey on the right path. Only Jesus is worthy of everything, of all my love. 

Help me, Holy Spirit – for His sake.

Gary Wiens, 4/4/2018