You might think from the title that today’s blog would discuss diet and exercise. Many of you know my history as a coach and fitness trainer; but as much as I still stress sound nutrition and appropriate exercise, my focus today is quite different. I want to examine the heart and the role it plays in healthy living for the disciple of Christ.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He took his audience to a place called love: love for God and love for others (Mark 12:28-31). The sign of healthy living for the Christian is not rooted in diet and exercise. The apostle Paul acknowledged that “Bodily training is of some value,” but, as the passage above explains, vibrant Christian living is rooted in love, and that love must start within our family of faith.
Without true Christians loving one another, Christ says the world cannot be expected to listen, even when we give proper answers. Let us be careful, indeed, to spend a lifetime studying to give honest answers. For years the orthodox, evangelical church has done this very poorly. So it is well to spend time learning to answer the questions of men who are about us. But after we have done our best to communicate to a lost world, still we must never forget that the final apologetic which Jesus gives is the observable love of true Christians for true Christians. — Francis Schaffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster
What Schaeffer called “the final apologetic” seems more like the forgotten or “absent” apologetic in the church today. Sometimes we seem to believe it is more important to be right than to be loving. At other times we act as if it is more valuable to get our way than to lay our lives down for others. We fuss about the music . . . we fight about which ministry gets highlighted . . . we hyperventilate about the person standing up in front of us raising his or her hands in worship. This is unhealthy living for members of the Body of Christ, and it gives the watching world ample excuse to stop looking, quit listening, and walk away.
We make God attractive to the watching world when we demonstrate the selfless love of Christ—a love that is not only unconditional, but sacrificial. It was the pattern of our Prince to love sacrificially, regardless of the cost or circumstance. He received those who were outcasts from society. He talked with those who were shunned by society. He traveled with those who were the low-class of society. His love was observable and offered to a fallen, broken, and hurting world as the final apologetic.
What would those who know you best say about your observable love? How attractive do you make your God? Are you reflecting the love of Christ to those you come in contact with—starting with your family of faith? Make no mistake; we are diseased to the degree that we fail to love, regardless of cost or circumstance. Your level of healthy living will always be in direct proportion to the level of love you have for God and all others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!