At one time or another, we have all asked the question: "What is the meaning to life?"
Last week, I conducted an informal Facebook poll asking people to rank these five things in order of importance: health, happiness, love, fame, and money.
How would you rank them?
I intentionally left God off of the list, because all of those things can be used for His glory. It is how we choose to wield them that defines us.
The results were interesting. Love was the clear winner by a margin of 2 to 1.
As Christ followers, love is most important because love is the language of Truth. God is love. God never lies.
Without love the enemy divides the Body of Christ: If you disagree with someone on one point – then you must dismiss them entirely. And if you acknowledge someone – then you must agree with them entirely. That is a deadly lie meant to divide, and it must be broken.
But love? We never have to be afraid of love, because it can never silence Truth. Truth is best understood when spoken in love.
Having Christian convictions never negates extending Christ's compassion.
Christ was never scared of guilt by association. He hung around the sick, ate with sinners, rubbed shoulders with tax collectors. All because He was showing them love.
We never have to be afraid of love, because radical love is the only thing that ever changes anyone. Without love, Christ didn't send you.
God holds out His hand to us — the sinful and disobedient — because God's love is the most powerful of all. With His love living inside of us, we are called to be peacemakers, fence destroyers and rift menders. Without it, we are peace destroyers, fence builders and rift makers.
We don't have to be afraid of guilt by association, because if we don't cross fences and climb walls, how will anyone come to understand His boundless grace?
Jesus put it this way: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)
We can have the right doctrine, but without love, we allow the harshness of pride to build walls of division. Christ in us moves us past fearing guilt by association to be people ready to live grace by association.
We have the privilege to be the ones who can make a kingdom difference because His kingdom is an eternal one. Not this blip-on-the-map, temporary existence on earth.
In case you're curious, the survey ranked happiness #2, health #3, money #4, and fame #5.
But love? It will always rank #1.
Because the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).
Community is built by living out love and humility, not by having the right books on our shelves or the approved conferences on our calendars.
So what is the secret to a meaningful life? LOVE.
Receiving God's love. Allowing it to flow through you to the people He places in your path. Allowing it to be a place where Truth can be understood.
A place where we live out grace by association.