The Glue that Holds It All Together
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
When my daughter was growing up, we had a once-a-week tradition of making special pancakes – a crepe-like, egg-based pancake. Home from college over Christmas, she asked me to make her special pancakes once again. Something went terribly wrong though. The batter was too runny, and they didn’t cook right. She tried to eat them, but they were terrible. Only while cleaning up did I realize that I’d left out the eggs. As it turns out, eggs are a pretty important ingredient in making an egg-based pancake. Without them, I just didn’t have special pancakes.
I’m sure the milk and the flour are important too, but for the sake of the analogy, eggs were the most important thing, and they were the one thing I left out. This is how Paul spoke of love in today’s passage. In it, he told his audience to abandon their self-destructive behavior, choosing rather to be humble, patient, and forgiving. Then he said that above all, they must put on love, because this is the key ingredient that holds the Christian life together. Later (1 Corinthians 13) he went on to say that we can have faith that moves mountains, but if we don’t have love, we have nothing.
God is love and love is from God (1 John 4:7-8). He loves us and the greatest commandment is that we love him back (Matthew 22:37-38). The second greatest commandment is that we must love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Love is what makes life worth living and it is the glue that holds everything together. Without love, we are missing the key ingredient in the life for which God made us.
We often equate love with an involuntary romantic emotion, but that is not what Paul referred to here. Paul commanded his audience to put on, or to choose, love. This isn’t something we fall in and out of. This love that holds all life together and gives it meaning is something we must daily choose. If we want to be who we were made to be, we must continually decide to love God and to love those around us. This isn’t simply an emotion. Love is a behavior in which we must purposefully engage.
The problem is that we don’t naturally always feel like seeking the goodwill of our neighbor. We naturally seek our own will. This is why Paul told the Colossians that they must purposefully choose love. If we call ourselves Christians, we must follow Christ, continually showing others the love that he has shown us. Only in doing so will we have the one ingredient that holds it all together, making life worth living.