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Staying Afloat

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Photo courtesy of pixabay.I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, I could mark off one item: my first hot air balloon ride.

My previous plans to ride a hot air balloon fell through due to stormy weather, but taking the ride was worth the wait. Not only did I experience the thrill, I also helped hold the balloon in place while the burner filled the envelope with hot air. I also assisted in folding the envelope and placing it in the basket once the ride was over.

Although most of us identify hot air balloons by their colorful fabric envelopes and baskets, the balloon won’t work without the burner—the force behind the hot air. As we soared over trees, fields, and people, the balloon owner fired the burner from time to time—keeping us airborne and stable.

The ride, combined with the activities before and after, reinforced the truth of Jesus’ lesson on love in Matthew 22:34-40. In contrast to the Pharisees’ focus on appearances, legal wrangling (sometimes to their own advantage), and status quo, Jesus directed their attention to love. Everything we do as Jesus’ followers revolves around the force of love.

Like the Pharisees, we can be in the right place and project the right look, but we get nowhere without love. Love for God and one another fires our spiritual lives, gets us going, and keeps us going. It unfolds God’s power and directs our attitudes, speech, and actions. After our life’s ride ends, the love that filled us continues to soar through the lives we touched on our journey.

Allow God to fill you with the power of His love today and every day. Only then can you know and share true love—a love that keeps you afloat on picture-perfect days and in the worst of storms.

(Originally appeared in Reflections (volume 24, 2014), Smyth and Helwys Publishing.)

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


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Diana Derringer

Diana Derringer, a former social worker and adjunct professor, writes for several publications. She teaches a middle school Sunday school class, sings in the choir, and participates in missions activities through her church. She and her husband enjoy traveling and serving as a friendship family to international university students. Visit her at www.dianaderringer.com.