Tag Archives: faith and love

Pleasing God 101

Pleasing God 101

We’re continuing our walk through the Book of Ephesians. The emphasis is on our corporate walk as believers. Paul now focuses on the defining characteristic of the church in Ephesus.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Ephesians 1:15-17 NIV

There are some things that need to be reinforced as we read this letter. Too often we miss important truths because we don’t know the purpose of the Holy Spirit in His revelation of Scripture.

This book was not written to baby Christians. At this point in the development of the church, the Holy Spirit is getting to some deeper issues. With the Scriptural foundation laid down in the book of Romans and the infancy of the Corinthian church behind us, this letter assumes a more mature walk.

Paul is writing to a church that’s walking in faith and exhibiting a true love for the saints. This is what pleasing the Lord is all about.

That’s because faith and love are the two non-negotiable attributes in the kingdom of God. Why would I say that? It’s clear from God’s Word.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Faith is more than just a head knowledge that God exists. You not only believe that He’s real, but that His way is the best way.

Of course, if you truly believe that God’s will is the right way to go, then you’ll seek it out. More than that, once you know His will, you’ll follow it wholeheartedly. That’s the only proof of a true faith in God.

That being said, faith alone is not enough.

…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2b NIV

This verse is talking about the agape-love needed in our Christian walk. This kind of love is not based in emotions. It has nothing to do with how you feel about someone.

This kind of love is a choice. It’s a commitment to treat people the way you would treat a friend. That’s the case whether you like them (emotionally) or not AND whether they’re present or not.

That means we don’t just treat them good while they’re standing in front of us. We don’t backbite and slander once they leave the room.

True love is a choice to walk with others in a way that positively affects their lives. It’s treating others the way we want to be treated.

Like I said, these are the two non-negotiable attributes. If you want to please God, you can’t just walk in one of these. You must have both faith and love operating in harmony.

It’s important to know that Paul was writing to a church that was showing the life of Christ in this way. Too often we want to “claim” every verse and promise we read in the Bible. Unfortunately, unless we’ve matured to a certain level, some Scriptures just don’t apply to us.

We’ll do well to remember this as we move forward in this book. Paul is writing to a church that’s beyond the baby stage of their Christian experience.

Paul was so impressed by their lifestyle that it became a part of his prayer life. Whenever he thought about the Ephesian church, he thanked God for the example of their faith and love.

That gives me something to think about. How do people see my life? Do they thank God for what they see in me? Or are they praying for God to change me and cause me to grow up? That’s a sobering thought.

We should all strive to be an example of godliness to those who are looking up to us. Allow God to have His way in bringing these qualities out in your life.

Question: To what extent does your life exhibit the faith and love that pleases God?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on February 27, 2023 in Faith, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church


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Why is the Love-Walk so Tough?

Snow HeartBefore the New Year, I was talking about the faith-love connection in my posts.  I want to continue along those lines.  Do you know why it’s so hard to walk in love sometimes?  The answer will become clear as we move forward.

If you remember, I was using the illustration of faith as the fuel and love as the generator for the power of God.  These are the two things that must be in place for us to see the blessing of God in our lives.  I want to go a little further with this concept.

One of the ways we run into problems is using the right fuel in the right device.  For instance, a candle produces light and heat.  But, I wouldn’t try to cook a steak with a candle.

Love is the key to using the power of God.  So we need to understand how it works.  This kind of love (Agape in Greek) that the Bible speaks about is not an emotion.  You have probably already heard many teachings on the subject.  It is taught that love is a decision.

That’s good as far as it goes, but love is much more than that.  To truly use the power of God, love must be a decision TO ACT.  Remember, love is the spiritual pressure, but what is also needed is a saved mind that acts in faith.  Without action there is no love and there is no power.  If I have truly decided to love you, then I will pray for you, encourage you, and bless you.

This is probably the biggest hindrance to power production in our lives.  We like holding on to the fuel to show everyone, “Look how much I have.”  We don’t want to actually use the generator.  We only want to impress people by our abundance of fuel.  What we really need is to learn the truth that faith by itself is not power.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 1:3

This verse gets right to the heart of the matter.  Work in this verse is the power that produces change.  This work is produced by faith operating through love.

But this verse also says that there is a labor associated with love.  This word labor in Greek means that which reduces strength.  To put it simply, the lamp burns oil to produce light.  The engine burns gasoline to move the car.  In the same way, love burns faith to produce spiritual power.

Why is it so hard to love others?  The reason is that love requires a constant supply of faith to fuel it.  Unless we’re willing to work at it, it’s easier to just ignore it.

Question: Do you notice the labor involved in loving someone?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Faith, Power of God


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