Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:1-18
I love the title of today’s message: “Live A Life Of Love.” That phrase is full of alliteration, …all the “l’s” and “v’s” and “f’s” combine to make it just roll off your lips: “Live A Life Of Love.”
I remember back in college I thought I was doing just that. I thought I was living a life of love, enjoying my friendships to my heart’s content, and loving others as best I knew how.
But when the pain of the inevitable broken relationships finally caught up with me, I realized that I wasn’t really living a life of love. It was more like a life of lust, and for some reason, that phrase just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I found out why, a few years later, as I began to read the Bible for the first time as an adult. I finally saw that I had been crossing boundaries in my relationships that God never intended for me to cross. I began searching the Scriptures for everything else that God had to say about love and life and I was amazed at what I discovered.
As I stepped into God’s plan for my life in this area, I found that His way of loving was way better than anything I had imagined. I was so thankful that I took the time to discover what He said about these things instead of just following my own plans.
So now, when I see others heading down the same path that I had been on, I want to warn them, encourage them, help them to get back onto God’s path. I want to share with them the same things that the Apostle Paul shared with the Ephesians when he said:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving…. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret” (Ephesians 5:1-3).
Paul encouraged the Ephesians to live a life of love, but to do so in a way that didn’t have even a hint of sexual immorality. And God wants us to do the same.
I read this week about a governor who lived his life according to this approach…at least, most of the time. But once a year he’d take a trip with some friends to “let steam out of the box.” Those annual outings eventually undid him. What started as seemingly innocent fun turned into sharing his email address with a stranger, then meeting up with her again in the future. It eventually turned into a full-blown affair―and a full-blown nightmare. The relationship resulted in the destruction of his marriage, his career, and his relationship with God.
While I know that God can still work in his life to sort things out, to bring some good out of all the bad that’s been done, I also know that it didn’t have to be this way. God wasn’t trying to “box him in” by saying he shouldn’t have even a hint of sexual immorality. God was trying to help him “live a life of love,” one that would truly lead to the abundant life that God intends for you and me, too.
Maybe you’re like me and you’re wondering if you may have crossed some lines that God never intended for you to cross. If so, I’d encourage you to take a close look at God’s Word so you can find out for sure. As Paul said to the Ephesians:
“Live as children of light….and find out what pleases the Lord… Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:8b, 10, 17).
Find out what pleases the Lord, and take time to understand what His will is. Then you’ll truly be able to “live a life of love.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me life, and thank You for showing me how to live a life of love―through Christ. I pray that You would help me to give my life to others, just as He gave His life for me. Lord, help me to drop anything in my life that has even a hint of sexual immorality in it, and help me to never cross any boundaries that You don’t want me to cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.