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The Purpose Driving Life (by Lynsey Haught)

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{this post has more borrowed insight on this month’s topic of “Christian Character in Relationships“}


The Purpose Driving Life

by Lynsey Haught


As his wife was dying of cancer, C.S. Lewis wrote the poem “As the Ruin Falls,” confessing the selfishness of his love for her and accepting the pain of self-sacrificing love:


 

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek.
* * *

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
* * *

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.


 

Any meaningful cause in life hangs upon the ability to deny one’s own interests for a higher goal. Consider what God’s greater glory cost Christ. Further, any meaningful relationship hangs upon the ability to deny one’s own interests for those of another. Consider what love for us cost Christ.

 

In I John 3 we are commanded to love others as Christ loved, laying down our lives for each other. God calls us to love as He loves—impossible. As Paul asks, “Who is sufficient for these things?”


 

Character is both vital and impossible in any human relationship. The only hope—in this as in all things—is surrendering to the self-emptying love of Christ, to the cycle of Christ-filling and self-outpouring. Only His character can sustain a relationship. I need the humility to see my utter inadequacy in my relationship to Him and to anyone else. I must abandon my right to myself in favor of worshipping His identity and works in every circumstance and relationship of my life.

Once I leave myself no escape route, no competing hope (for in Him I need none), I throw myself in faith on His character. When I can adore Him in His character and deeds, then His life, His strength, and His love redeem mine, moment by moment.


 

It is only as He pares us down to a self-honesty like Lewis’s that our absolute weakness will thrust us on His strength. His character in love lives only after we die to ourselves. Christ’s death gave us life, and our death can draw from that source, spreading His life.

 

The purpose of this love, then, is not to enjoy it, but to multiply it. In John 17:23, Christ prays,

“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

We are unified in Christ that others may learn of His love.


More than the success or failure of any one relationship, He uses His character in our relationships to draw people to Christ. Our relationships are an opportunity to live Christ’s love before those who desperately need it.

 

 

 

{more on character: check out Don’t Reach for the Stars by Josh Jones}

 

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