Let’s take a little test to start off 2024. Which word best describes you today? Frazzled? Floundering? Or, flourishing?
Recovering from the busy holiday rush, returning to the pressures of everyday life, or worrying about the uncertainties of another year can leave each of us feeling frazzled. Do you think Jesus ever felt that way? Today as I rushed to make a lunch appointment on time, I laughed at the thought of Jesus running anywhere, ever, to arrive on time! Sure, He stayed busy in constant ministry to others, experiencing fatigue and the need to rest. But you don’t get the sense that He was ever harried. He was always certain about His purpose and the meaning of His life. He never floundered about the reason He was here on earth. He came to do the will of His Father, and He did it – all the way to the end. So even though Jesus’ life had more than its share of ridicule, rejection, and suffering, He lived a life flourishing in the will of God. In 2024 we want to learn how to live more like Jesus – and to love more like Jesus.
Our world is experiencing one of the most divisive and contentious eras in history. Medicine, politics, morality, economics, world wars, and novel ideologies are all domains of increasingly heated debate and division, on display constantly in the news and social media. The goal seems to be to divide people through every means possible. Ridicule. Attack. Cancel. The results are suspicion and distrust; isolation and loneliness; and broken relationships everywhere. How would Jesus live and love in our world today?
He was drawn to the broken and loved them. He called the sick and healed them. He fed the hungry. He raised up the downcast and spoke the rebuke of truth to the proud. This was the work the Father gave Him to do so that all could know God so loved the world. God and His gospel tell a better story. There is a pure and perfect love that flows from the heart of God to broken people and restores the damage of our loveless world. God is love and we cannot flourish without Him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10, 11
The Bible says, “Above all put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Think of that. It is a priority. A command. And the energizing force that creates flourishing and perfect harmony. No wonder Jesus said, “by this will all people know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is an apologetic for the plausibility of the gospel. Love is also an attraction for those who fear love has passed them by. Love is the aligning mission for a church endeavoring to be a Christ-centered community of people fully devoted to loving God and loving others.
FLOURISH is our January series on Sunday mornings at Calvary. We’ll be looking at the relationships that make life beautiful and the love required to help them grow deep. We want to learn to love like Jesus. Love was His mission. Love is our calling. We cannot flourish without it.
With you on the journey,