Let’s shoot straight for just a second, k?
Sometimes we talk about having a favorite verse in the Bible, maybe a passage that stands out or means something special during a particular season. I am all for that.
But every time I hear someone say “this is my life verse,” it’s like my shoulders pinch just a bit in the back. How do you know? What if your life changes? “Life verse” seems a bit extravagant, a bit too much, like you’ve just gone and eaten the entire pan of brownies because they’re just so good and so you went all in. You might wish you could change your mind in the morning, but wait, you already went and ate the brownies, went and declared your life verse.
So I might be about to make your shoulder blades pinch in the back just a bit.
I realize that, I get it, and I’m going to press on anyway because a few years ago I stumbled on this teeny tiny verse that basically sums up what I want my entire life to be about.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. // Philippians 1:9, The Message
I am obsessed with it. Write it on my wrist, please put it on my tombstone, obsessed with it.
We’re all going to be remembered for something. When we’re in glory and our names come up in conversations, something will be said. And we will have no say in the matter, no way to change the weight we’ve had on the world.
But we have now, this moment, today.
Every day we each put on a fresh shirt and brush our hair, our teeth, and I wonder what would happen if love hung on a hanger in our closet, if we would turn the car around on the days we forget, rushing inside to grab it and put it on.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. // Colossians 3:14a
When Paul was writing that little letter with the little verse about loving so very extravagantly, he penned those words in between praises and encouragement and advice. Love wove through it all, right in the middle. It wasn’t a challenge to me sentimental or cheesy, a call to forget logic and dive in head first. But it was, most certainly, a hope and a prayer and a challenge to love with the love of Christ, to never walk out the door or reply to the text message or post the Facebook status without first putting on love.
Yeah, it’s my life verse.
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. // Philippians 1:2-11, The Message