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July 3 | 1 Corinthians 2:9-10


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

 

A Love-Shaped Life

by Katie Borden

 

When I was in 7th grade, one of our teachers had us write a letter to our future self and then mailed them to us when we graduated from high school. When I read that letter the summer I graduated, I was entertained with rants about which teacher was “ruining my life” that school year, who my best friends were, and what I thought about the boys in the class. 


More to the point, 18-year-old me was faced with an onslaught of questions from 12-year-old me in that letter. It’s still fascinating to contemplate some of those questions today, because it reminds me that what I find important about life–and what I even know to wonder about in life–changes so much with time and experience.


I think that’s true in our life with God, too. In our worldly wisdom, we don’t know how to pursue anything other than self-preservation, self-centeredness, and self-advancement. To be clear, I do think there are times when it is right and good to protect yourself, to consider your needs and to pursue progress toward life goals. But as I’ve wondered what it is we’re really seeking in these aims when they are the main driver of life, it occurs to me that we may really be trying to stave off the effects of a sinful world (and sinful selves) under our own power. 


Perhaps self-preservation is an act motivated by fear. Maybe our self-centeredness has an undercurrent of pride–or shame. Our self-advancement may be an indicator that we long to be valued and are desperate for a place to belong.


In the greater section of 1 Corinthians that our passage today comes from, Paul is explaining how different the wisdom of the Spirit is from the wisdom of this world, and when I consider the above motivations we all experience from time to time, I see this even more clearly. In our humanness, we can’t even conceive of what to ask God about as it pertains to what he has in store for us because we can’t comprehend a different way of life until the Spirit gets a hold of us and begins to shape our lives in the way of Christ:

Jesus did not preserve himself, but gave himself up for our sakes.

Jesus did not focus on building up a name for himself in the ways that the world expected him to, because he didn’t need the world’s approval–he already knew who he was.

Jesus was not self-centered, but poured his energy and love into those he loves.


I’d encourage you to focus on that last word: love. This is what makes Christ’s way of life so different–this way of life focuses love outward. And Christ’s outward love focused on us. This is what God has in store for us: a life filled with the love of Christ, so full and alive that even in our outward focus to others that may look foolish in this life, we are not drained of good things, but filled with the good things that will truly last an eternity.


PRAYER

God, thank you for the love that you have for me. Fill me with this love so that I would know nothing else but your self-giving love. Shape me in the way of love. Amen.



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