“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11).

IF WE DON’T DO AWAY WITH THE THINGS THAT KEEP OUR LOVE FROM ABOUNDING, WE CUT OURSELVES OFF FROM GOD’S GOODNESS. We need to work on purifying our hearts, so that they become ever-expanding receptacles for the gifts of God.

Consider the concept of “laziness” in regard to spiritual growth. Numerous texts in the Proverbs speak of the general undesirability of being a sluggard (Proverbs 6:6–11). But sluggishness is more than a minor character flaw. It can kill us spiritually. The writer of Hebrews said, “We desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11,12).

The church in Ephesus was praised for having been stalwart in their defense of the faith and tireless in their work for the Lord (Revelation 2:1–3). “Nevertheless,” Christ said, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4,5). Having previously loved and served the Lord so fervently, a certain coldness had begun to restrict their relationship with Him. Unless they took decisive steps to correct this problem, it would destroy their fellowship with Christ. He would disavow them and disown them.

God has made it possible, through Jesus Christ, for us to have a truly rich relationship with Him. But the richness of this relationship can’t be enjoyed if our hearts are held back by indifference or inactivity. Loving God is a vigorous transaction, and love’s rewards come to those who are reaching forward. May we leave behind anything that dilutes our love for God — and anything that limits our capacity to receive God’s love for us.

“Wake up, believers, from your lowly condition! Throw away your laziness, sluggishness, coldness, or whatever is interfering with your pure love for Christ” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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