What Binds the Hands of Love?
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. (Colossians 1:3–5)
The problem with the church today is not that there are too many people who are passionately in love with heaven. The problem is not that professing Christians are retreating from the world, spending half their days reading Scripture and the other half singing about their pleasures in God all the while indifferent to the needs of the world. That’s not happening! The people of God are not so full of love to God that they spend half their days in his word.
The problem is that professing Christians are spending ten minutes reading Scripture and then half their day making money and the other half loving and repairing what they spend it on.
It’s not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love for the lost and hurting of this world. It is worldly-mindedness that hinders love, even when it is disguised by a religious routine on the weekend.
Where is the person whose heart is so passionately in love with the promised glory of heaven that he feels like an exile and a sojourner on the earth? Where is the person who has so tasted the beauty of the age to come that the diamonds of the world look like marbles from the dollar store, and the entertainment of the world feels empty, and the moral causes of the world are too small because they have no view to eternity? Where is this person?
To be sure, he is not in bondage to the Internet or eating or sleeping or drinking or partying or fishing or sailing or putzing around. He is a free man in a foreign land. And his one question is this: How can I maximize my enjoyment of God for all eternity while I am an exile on this earth? And his answer is always the same: by doing the labors of love. By expanding my joy in God, no matter the cost, if by any means possible I might include others in it.
Only one thing satisfies the heart whose treasure is in heaven: doing the works of heaven. And heaven is a world of love!
It is not the cords of heaven that bind the hands of love and make them ineffective. It is the love of money and leisure and comfort and praise — these are the cords of selfishness that bind the hands of love. And the power to sever these cords is Christian hope. “We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Colossians 1:4–5).
I say it again with all the conviction that lies within me: it is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love on this earth. It is worldly-mindedness. And therefore the great fountain of love is the powerful, freeing confidence of Christian hope.