Doing Everything with Love, in Word and Deed: Rethinking Partnership During Christmas
I spent hours studying Psalm 40.
I had memorized it months earlier; but this time, the assignment was to write a paper on it. Books were piled high around my desk, commentaries open in a haphazard way, photocopies of others’ words stacked in a pile in the corner. I camped out in that place until the words danced off the pages and came alive even thousands of years after they were written. I’ll always be in wonderment of the fact that God’s word is alive, beautiful, and life-giving long after the ink has dried.
This Psalm of David’s is a little different than the ones nestled around it because it begins with thanksgiving and ends with petition. David tells us of how God delivered him and set his feet upon a secure rock – and moments later, he cries out to God to do the same thing again. It’s a beautiful Psalm for so many reasons, especially the fact that it reminds us that both praise and petition can go hand in hand. The Psalm keeps a consistent pace until verse six, where David writes something that stops readers in their tracks:
“In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.” (40:6 ESV)
David covers every sacrifice required under the law: sacrifices for both praise and forgiveness, sacrifices due to God for who He is, and sacrifices to remove the consequences of sin. In other words, even before the Law was fulfilled, God was longing for our hearts.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians much the same thing: “Let all that you do be done in love” (16:14 ESV).
God doesn’t desire sacrifice, burnt offerings, or loveless acts. He wants each of our hearts because it’s from there that Love flows out, a love that changes the way we act, the way we breathe, the way we do.
I’ve wrestled a lot with the truth that God is chasing after my heart. I can spend so much of my time doing, so much of my time serving, so much of my time speaking – but if my heart hasn’t been handed over to God, all of my doing is empty and void of the only way this world is able to change: through Christ’s love.
And so, in this season of Advent and expectant waiting, I draw close to the One who enters my heart, who infuses all that I do with His love.