Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The All-Purpose Litmus Test

Sorting through arbitrary lists of "do's" and "do not's" is challenging.

Well, I suppose that sometimes we are actually comforted to see how someone does it so that we can fall happily in line behind them. There is a time and place for that. Paul said to "imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." So, okay. Make some lists.

But, if you haven't noticed, God is not the ultimate list maker. He has, however, given some pretty important principles, some hefty advice, if you will. Fortunately, it is simple - easy enough for a child to learn.

This morning's reading brought me once again to the simplicity laid down in the scriptures.

1 Tim.1:4 "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith..."

When we are questioning our actions, our thoughts, we need to ask if we are fulfilling the purpose of His commandment: love. Am I motivated by and conveying His love? Plain and simple. That is the test.

Such simplicity is reiterated elsewhere.

Gal.5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

We wrestle over all kinds of things. We question what to wear, what to say, what to watch, what to drink. Could you imagine the lists we would need if that had been His approach? It would take a lifetime just to read them. Then I would need another lifetime to attempt application.

No, His was a simpler, kinder approach. When making your lists, debating your actions, just ask yourself one question: does this show love for all involved?

Am I loving my brothers in the Lord when I wear this? My parents, my husband?
Do the words I am about to speak edify as love does?
Will watching this movie show love to God and others?
Drinking this - who does my liberty bless?

Granted, a more thorough search of scripture and subsequent teaching regarding issues is always welcome and appropriate. But in the end it must always pass the litmus test: will this result in love - from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith?

It's simple. The word is love.


Blogger Quinne said...

Hi Darlene :) So simple, such a blessing, such a challenge! Loving is the best, sometimes the hardest thing. But, oh! Aren't we thankful?

Thanks for this today. Love, Q

2:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah D. said...


Thanks for the oh-so-necessary reminder. Ronny and I were just discussing this very topic two nights ago concerning public education. There is a secret contained in the powererful Scriptures that those in the world seek to find. As we observe in public education today, so many educators and administrators tackle with the issue of how to train teachers to effectively teach children and how to get students to respond to teachers. God's Word so clearly and simply answers this debate, and really every other, in this world: Love!
As my husband and I excitedly dreamed of all the children and colleagues he will reach through love, we smiled and gladly "Gave it up for the King of Love", as He and His proven principles/truth WILL effectively reach the world whether they know it or not!
God is great as He touches the world with the Gospel, just dressed up a bit differently for those hard-to-reach educators.
Sarah Diederich

3:14 PM  

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