Flame of Love 

Author: T. Austin-Sparks

Christ's love compels us. (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV)

"The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 5:5). That was the dynamic of service. Now, that is simple and it works in two ways. All activity, work, and what is called "service" for the Lord, without that behind it, is lacking in the true power of fruitful service, but if that is there, we cannot help being the Lord servants. Nothing can make us true servants of the Lord but a personal passionate love for Himself. Nothing can substitute that. But given that, there is no need for any kind of human ordination, an ecclesiastical setting apart. You are the Lord servant right enough if you have an adequate love for Himself in your heart. It will be, it will work out. All our value to the Lord depends upon the measure of our heart-love for Himself. That is all. There is nothing profound about that, but it is testing.

We may do many things, like the church at Ephesus later on. It did many things, but the Lord said, "I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love" (Rev. 2:4). And in effect He said: "There is no justification in your lampstand remaining, it is merely an empty profession, an outward vessel without the inner Lord, the inner light." And unless this original first love is recovered, it is mere profession, doing many things, but the thing which justifies our existence is that love and only that. Nothing but that love will keep us going. It is the power of endurance through the years, and it is an awful thing to come to a Christian life which has got to be kept up without that love for the Lord in the heart. It is only that love that really makes the Christian life possible under all the strain of the years. I am quite sure that in the case of the apostle, with all his suffering and all he had to meet, the thing that kept him going was that flame of love in his own heart for the Lord Himself. Through the suffering, nothing but a strong love for the Lord will keep us going.

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