My first cell phone was by Nokia. It was as large as a brick, only heavier. I spent so much time on it that Janet sometimes called it “the other woman.” This morning we learn thatNokia is selling a subsidiary which makes some of the world’s most expensive mobile phones–one features a crystal display and sapphire keys, costing more than $320,000. Nokia’s shares fell last week and its head of sales quit. Success in business is a fleeting thing.
What constitutes success in life? This morning, the Lord completed a spiritual formula he has been building in my life for several days. Here’s the first part: Jesus taught his disciples, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. . . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (John 14:23, 24). I must love Jesus to obey him. If I do not love him, inevitably I will fail him. I will refuse something he wants me to do, or do something he wants me to refuse. Love produces obedience.
But obedience then demonstrates love. A little later, Jesus tells his disciples that he must continue to the cross, for “the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (v. 31). You cannot look into my heart. You cannot know if I love God by my emotions, only by my actions. So love produces obedience, but obedience demonstrates love.
Yes, but how do we love God fully? Today’s reading in Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest states, “The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the love of God in our hearts naturally, it is only there when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” The essay references Romans 5:5: “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Surrender to the Spirit produces love for God, which produces obedience to God, which demonstrates love for God. But, what are we to surrender?
Here’s the final piece. Sarah Young’s God Calling suggests a word from the Lord based on Scriptures selected for the day. Here’s this morning’s reading: “When some basic need is lacking–time, energy, money–consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. . . . The truth is that self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporal success. Health and wealth can disappear instantly, as can life itself. Rejoice in your insufficiency, knowing that ‘My power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our culture measures success by things like expensive cell phones. Our Father measures success this way: Submit your problems to the Spirit and you’ll love God. Love God and you’ll obey him. Obey him and others will know that you love him. Where do you need to start today?
Dr. Denison’s cultural commentary originally appeared at http://www.denisonforum.org. It has been reposted here with permission of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.