Title: Living in Love
Date: Sep 13, 2012
Scripture: Psalm 40:1-17
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You and I have a decision to make today and every day. Often we don't even think about it. Sometimes it's easy; other times we want to avoid it all together. The decision we have to make is whether or not we'll choose to act in love.
God wants us to show love to others. And He doesn't leave us without an example. In fact, God Himself is the greatest possible example. Psalm 40, written by David, shows us how God demonstrates love, how we can follow that example and how God responds to those who love--and to those who don't.
In Psalm 40:1-5, we find at least five ways God demonstrates love toward David:
- God listens to and hears the cry of David (Psalm 40:1).
- God saves David from destruction (Psalm 40:2)--an early picture of the salvation God offers to all of us through Jesus.
- God gives David a new song to sing (Psalm 40:3).
- God pours out blessings and goodness towards those who trust Him (Psalm 40:4-5).
Now, we can follow God's example in one of two ways. The wrong way, seen in verses 6-7, is to use actions to cover attitudes. It's true that God commanded Israel to make certain sacrifices and offerings; but if you've ever used the phrase, "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission," you know the kind of attitude the Israelites had. Rather than doing the right thing to begin with, they lived their own way and then tried to "make up" for it with their sacrifices.
There is a better way. That way is mentioned in verse 8,
"I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart" (Psalm 40:8 NIV).
In this verse "religion" (outward actions designed to win God's favor) has been replaced with a relationship. David is following God, who has shown love to him because he wants to, not because he has to. Read verses 9-10; then ask yourself how likely it would be for someone to be saying those things solely from a sense of obligation.
Read verses 9-17 and think about the following questions:
- How does God respond to those who love Him?
- We see in these verses people who choose not to love God--how do they treat those who love God?
- What is the end result of choosing to follow God's example of love? (See verses 16-17).
Who around you today could use a glimpse of God's love? Share a smile with the clerk at the grocery store. Open the door for someone. If you have an opportunity, share with someone how God has touched your life. Share how He hears your prayers and how He saved your life.
Most of all, spend some time getting to know God through the Bible. Without that relationship with Him, anything you do will just boil down to outward actions without the inward attitudes.