The Only Thing That Counts

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Try adding the question, "so that I can love who?" to the end of the verses you read today.

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6b (NIV)

My daughter Hope is one of those people who knows how to dress.

She'll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw on an army jacket and black pants, finish the look with brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.

Me on the other hand, I get all stuck in a "Garanimals" state of mind. Did you ever wear Garanimals, the pants and shirts that match perfectly? It made me resistant to the delight of the unexpected.

Matchy-matchy became the curse of my closet.

Until Hope set me straight one day. "Mom, your outfits need a little pop!"

Pop?

She started whipping my outfits together in a way I'd never dreamed.

An orange necklace with an outfit that had not a stitch of orange.

Huh?

Leopard flats with a dark blue shirt, teal necklace, and black skinny jeans.

Are you sure?

She was more than sure. With great confidence she introduced me to the world of adding a pop. A little something unexpected. A new way of expressing myself. And it has been delightful.

So, I started thinking, what if I did this with other areas of my life? Other places where I've slipped into the "same old, same old" ruts.

Might the delight of the unexpected make other aspects of my life more fun?

Our key verse Galatians 5:6b says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

Might this be an invitation to discover another new way to express myself? Express my faith? Through acts of love?

Yes. I think so.

So, I did a little experiment. I started reading Bible verses by adding on a little question/challenge to myself at the end: "... so that I can love who?"

For example, Romans 12:2a, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

There is someone in my life who needs my love but I'll only be able to do it if I let God change my mindset. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

There is someone in my life who needs something that I don't think I can give. My time. An emotional investment. A financial gift. Things I sometimes feel are in limited supply. But I can freely give those things when I realize God supplies all of my needs. I just have to open my hand and send some of my blessing in this person's direction. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

Why not try this yourself? No, not the leopard flats and teal necklace ... although that is quite the charming combination. But rather adding the question, "... so that I can love who?" to the end of the verses you read today.

It will certainly give you a new way to express your faith. A way that God says is the only thing that counts.

Dear Lord, thank You for showing me how to express my faith in a fresh way. Help me to love others with the same love and compassion You so freely lavish upon me. You are my rock and my redeemer. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

Who can you love today?

Choose someone to really bless. Commit to pray for and reach out to that person often. Do things that will make them feel loved. For example, surprise a friend with her favorite coffee drink one morning.

Power Verses:

Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV)

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