My wife and I watched a DVD the other day entitled "When the Game Stands Tall," the true story of a California high school football team, which amassed an unprecedented 150 game winning streak. The movie focused upon how the team and the coach reacted when that streak was finally broken by two consecutive losses. I won't tell you how it all played out in case you'd like to see it, but because the school was a parochial school there were several references to verses of Scripture and biblical concepts such as love for one another. In fact the overriding theme of the movie was the importance of thinking of others before oneself.
However, what was disappointing to me as a pastor and a follower of Jesus is that while the movie placed admirable emphasis upon the second greatest commandment ("Love your neighbor as yourself") there was virtually no attention paid to the greatest commandment of all ("Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength"). Anymore it seems our American society has gotten caught up in doing "good deeds" for others, especially during the season we just experienced. And certainly faith without works is dead, as James teaches (James 2:17). But works without faith in Jesus Christ is equally as deadly!
As we begin a new year a challenge to consider is whether or not our love for Jesus is evident to those around us. Do we truly love Him with all our heart, soul and strength and is that evident by how we live our lives and the choices we make? An unbelieving world may seek to imitate the Christian life, while leaving Christ out of the equation. But shame on us who profess to know Jesus if our lives are not a direct reflection of the love He has for us and the love we should have for Him!