The Test of Love
When I first started writing and speaking about Christ, there was nothing that could touch my relationship with my Creator. He was what I desired most and there wasn’t an accolade or a new book deal that could have rivaled my relationship with Him. But I confess it hasn’t always been that way. Because I was so passionate about my calling, there was a season when my desire to succeed became greater than my desire for Him.
Looking back, I am grieved that “the pride of life” Paul described in 1 John 2:16 played a part in why I served. But I am thankful that God did not allow me to maintain impure motives. Instead, like a good Father, he disciplined me by allowing many of my efforts to fall flat.
Since then I’ve been reminded that sometimes we begin our journey toward a God-given purpose with pure hearts and right love for Christ. He gives us gifts; we use them. We serve Him; we serve others. Our motives are right; our service is real. God blesses and we are thankful.
But then somewhere along the way the motivation of our hearts gets muddied. Fear takes over, pride runs rampant, and the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life moves into our hearts so that we lose the affection for our First Love.
This is when God will sometimes turn up the heat to reveal what is in our hearts. He may even allow affliction to come to skim off the impurities, because true love is always tested in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). When this happens, like Paul we might despair of even life (2 Corinthians 1:8). We may be certain that nothing good can come from our difficulty and we may want to give up our God-given calling. But remember this: if we will allow God to do His purifying work, if we hold on in hope, if we endure, our trouble will result in a purified heart which means pure joy!
Why do you do what you do? Why do you serve? What about your motives? Do you love your life, your own comfort, or your own agenda more than God’s? These are questions that are answered in the furnace of affliction--and the result for the heart which passes God’s test is purified love for Him, and purified service.