Love: The Sole Purpose of Living

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13, ESV

The purpose of Christian living is not only about spreading the gospel. It’s about loving the world around us so they may recognise the Lord.

Everyone has a part to play in the kingdom of God. And within this kingdom, everyone is different. That is why Paul wrote that we have the “apostles, prophets, shepherds, and teachers” for the purpose of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph 4:11-12, ESV). From this alone, we can recognise that not all are called to go all out to the streets and proclaim the gospel of Christ.

Everyone has a pre-determined role to play in this life. However, in order to fulfil this role, we will need love. This love for God and the people arises from our understanding of God and the recognition of our limitedness. It is seeing life from its rightful perspective that will allow us to rest on God’s sovereign nature to do what He called us to.

Identifying the Grand Purpose

I think, the key to identifying the grand purpose of God’s sovereign plan for the church is to understand the heart of God for all humankind. God’s purpose is for humanity to return to Him and to be with Him. This includes being One with Him in marriage for all eternity. This mind-boggling understanding of the Heart of God shifts the salvation plan of Christ (though exceedingly important), off-centre. The grand purpose of God is for humanity to enjoy the best of His goodness for all of eternity.

“The grand purpose of God is for humanity to enjoy the best of His goodness for all of eternity.”

The implications for the Christian gospel, therefore, should not be overly centred on sin and Christ’s salvation on the cross. Rather, the focus should be on God’s goodness and whether or not we choose to accept this priceless gift or not.

Identifying the Calling

Preaching this gift requires wisdom that must be learned. This wisdom is from all of nature that displays God’s glory and His handiwork (Psalms 19:1). However, one can only identify God’s participation in all of creation through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that draws us to pursue knowledge, gain understanding, and proclaim God’s eternal glories through His divine handicrafts.

I think this is humanity’s calling — to study the manifold wisdom of God that is manifested in all of academia, through the revelation of the Spirit, then preaching this knowledge to all of humanity. It is through this Spirit-led education and revelation that people can marvel at the intricate details of the sciences, the fragile but lovable fabric of interpersonal relationships, and the unfathomable nature of linguistics.

“The calling of humanity is to study the manifold wisdom of God that is manifested in all of academia, through the revelation of the Spirit, then preaching this knowledge to all of humanity.”

We are called to be salt and light for a reason. And I believe, this purpose is clear — to teach, to influence, and to reveal the mystery of God. This is the reason why the church is called to guide the people with love so they may not lose out, to serve the needs of others so they may learn, to open doors for others so that they may hear, and to be a living testimony of this wisdom so that the world may see and believe.

Of course, the above scenario is the ideal situation that the church may experience. I think we need to take note that in every point in time in history, Satan will work to destroy God’s work on earth. There is no point in history when the church will not face any form of persecution. However, even in these toughest of persecutions, God’s call for the church is still valid. The church still needs to draw humanity back to Him.

This is where the identification of gifts is so important within the church. It is through these gifts that God, the Holy Spirit, uses to guide the church to brave through whatever storms it will face. It is through these gifts that will draw people to doing certain tasks that they would otherwise not do, equipping each other for the work of ministry so as to build up the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12, ESV), realizing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Serving with the Heart for the People

Coming back to the basis of the call. I think we can all agree that whether or not we are living in peace or in the midst of persecution, the only motivator for service is love. It is through the love for God and for one another that others will identify us as Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
— 1 Corinthians 13:2, ESV

Love is the only way others will recognise that we are Christ’s followers. Love is the only thing that will differentiate a Christian ministry from other charitable work in the world. We love, because we have a heart for these people. We love, because God first loved us.

“Love is the only thing that will differentiate a Christian ministry from other charitable work.”

That is why the church is embarking on multiple ministries such as forming welfare funds, sponsorship funds, orphanages, seniors home, care centres, educational institutions, hospitals, charity alliances, so on and so forth, just so as to show the world that we care.

Sure, the gospel of salvation is indeed important. But when political circumstances or personal struggles forbid you to declare the gospel of salvation openly, you serve with love in the broken world with a heart for them.

Ministry and the Love of God

Honestly, you will not be able to serve in love if you are not One with the Father. Serving with love includes the complete putting down of oneself and resting on God’s sovereign providence and eternal nature. No one can serve the Lord with their focus set on something earthly. Hence, it is of utmost importance that every minister to the Lord constantly reflects on oneself for traces of self-centeredness and pride.

Failure to recognise God’s sovereign nature will cause us to point others in the wrong direction. The inability to completely trust in the Lord may cause us to commit dangerous mistakes we would otherwise avoid.

“You cannot show the world who God is with our own efforts. Only God Himself can. And, out of love, He chooses to work with His Wife, the Church, to realise this work.”

Hence, if the central purpose is to make known the richness of God to the broken world, focusing on the broken world will cast our work in the complete opposite direction. The world cannot show itself, God.

Loving God — The Only Way to Love Others

With that, I believe that there is no other thing that we can do to accomplish the calling from God other than to seek Him earnestly and recognising just how small we are in our palm-sized universe.

It is only through the understanding of God’s greatness that the fear of the Lord be planted within us. It is only through the recognition of God’s nature that will cause our inner pride to surface.

You cannot show the world who God is with our own efforts. Only God Himself can. And, out of love, He chooses to work with His Wife, the Church, to realise this work.

That is why we love — because God first loved us.

We respond to this love by fearing the Lord, recognising His sovereign nature, and fulfilling what He has called us to do. And we do all these knowing full well that others will recognise us as the disciples of Christ through the work of our hands.

This, is the sole purpose of living. There is no other purpose greater than this.

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8 Comments

  1. Dear Sim, I have read with interest all that you have published here and agree that the world has to see God’s love through us. My main interest in anything I read is to find where Jesus and the Word of God are found. Without them, I have learned that the ministry to others is fruitless. We may love, feed them physically and meet other needs; true love is to bring them to see the source and the means of this life that we have in Christ. Many will accept our gifts for their physical needs, but not the gift of life through Christ and HIs Word. How do you explain “the manifold wisdom of God manifested in all academia?” Do you mean everything that is published for educational purposes? Is not the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ through the Word of God and no other? Blessings as you continue to study His Word and proclaim His love in the new year..

    Like

    1. Hi Francesrogers,

      It’s so heartening to see people reading and commenting on my posts! 🙂 Thank you for dropping by!

      I agree with you that any ministry to others without Jesus and the Word of God is fruitless. That’s why within this post, I’ve placed so much emphasis on “love”. More specifically, love through the revelation of the Spirit.

      That is why Paul wrote that “no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

      Likewise, God’s glory is manifested in all of creation. Just like how the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 19 that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). So God’s glory can be found in creation and hence studied in academia!

      Indeed Jesus Christ is the summation of God’s glory. However, it is important to be tactful about the preaching of the gospel. When political circumstances do now allow you to openly declare your faith or if you’re just an introvert finding your way around life, you may rest on the love of God, through the Spirit, who will guide you into fulfilling your calling and be salt and light to the broken world. Surely, it is this Holy Spirit that will guide us to live in such a way that we will love one another and others will recognise us as Christ’s disciples. (John 13:35).

      Hope this answers your question! Have a Blessed New Year ahead! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not quite, but as one in my eighth decade, I will accept how you perceive the Holy Spirit leading in your own life and pray that you are given the opportunities to share His Word with the power of His Holy Spirit to others. Blessings for the year ahead. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny, but your leading Scripture verse from 1Corinthians is what I was thinking about when I wrote my recent blog post. Thank you for coming by and liking it.

    Liked by 1 person

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