Today I have the joy and privilege of sharing a blog post written by my daughter, Elizabeth.
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Revelation 2:2-4 (NIV)
The church in Ephesus was surrounded by wickedness, yet pursued holiness. But God still had something against them; they had forgotten and left their first love. It was almost as if they were cheating on God with religious holiness. After all, what is holiness without love?
Some would like to say that without holiness it is impossible to please God, and while I whole heartedly agree, I must bring up the fact that part of being holy is obeying all of God’s commands, including loving the Lord you God with all your heart soul and mind, which is the greatest command.
I would like to propose that holiness without love is not holiness, but legalism. This being an all too common holiness preached now days. The church tends to lean to one of two extremes. All grace and love, with no rules or boundaries. Or all rules and holiness, with no understanding or grace.
In Ephesus the church had forgotten why they were supposed to pursue holiness. They we’re going through the motions. Nothing more.
When holiness forgets about love, it opens the door for condemnation, judgement, shame, unrealistic expectations, egotism, legalism, and so much more. It opens the door of religion, closing the door of relationship. It opens the door of bitterness and unforgiveness, closing the door of forgiveness and freedom.
Legalism tends to make people wear masks, cutting off real relationships.
Love leads to forgiveness.
It is love, not holiness that drove Jesus to the cross (John 3:16).
Holiness is how we put our love for God into action.
Where the rubber meets the road:
Is there sin in your life that you need to give up? Or maybe someone you need to forgive?
Whatever it is that love is leading you to do, do it as an act of love. Not legalism.
Elizabeth Meyer is a budding writer.
She writes poetry and essays about what God is teaching her.
She enjoys singing, dancing, reading and hanging out with her friends.
And she is my daughter! So proud of this girl!
Give her some encouragement by leaving a comment below.