Acton Institute Powerblog

The Economy of Love: Transformation Through Obedience

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I’ve recently discussed the temptations of self-willed religion and the risks of disobedience, cautioning against self-chosen service and sacrifice. Over at the FLOW blog, Evan Koons highlights the power in doing the opposite.

Quoting Stephen Grabill, director of programs at Acton, Koons notes that when submit our lives to Christ and obey God’s direct and divine calling, he “reverses the barrenness, isolation, and brokenness” in our lives, and thus, the world around us.

When God told Abraham his descendants would outnumber the sands on the seashore, he wasn’t just saying they would be many, he was saying they would be majestic. Each one would reveal the beautiful and wondrously creative nature of God. Every tiny and seemingly insignificant grain would stand as a colossal reminder of what our obedience to God Almighty really creates and what it truly reveals: magnificent LIFE. And the more you magnify it the more and more wonder and beauty it proclaims.

In chatting with my main man, Stephen Grabill, he reminded me that the original story of Abraham and Sarah was one of barrenness, hopelessness. Quite literally no LIFE could come from them. Entering into the hope of God’s promise for LIFE in abundance, however, changed all of that. “Abraham’s obedience to God’s seemingly crazy call,” Stephen told me, “reverses barrenness, isolation, brokenness. When we obey, we are in a sense undergoing a divine fertility treatment. A part of that treatment is showing us what real family, real membership in the most real family, really is—to live a missional and sacrificial life, a life lived in union with God, according to his purpose, as a drink offering being poured out for others.”

With this in mind, as you partake in the Economy of Love—whether through your biological family, communal family, or family of faith—as you encounter the barrenness of a broken world, trust God’s call to pour yourself out, to sacrifice, and to love. For in you and through you God is revealing his eternal glory. One stunning sand grain at a time, he is making his children, his kingdom, as numerous as the seashore.

I’m currently reading That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, and Ransom’s striking line to Jane comes to mind. “You do not fail in obedience through lack of love,” he says, “but you have lost love because you never attempted obedience.”

Indeed, only when we allow ourselves to be filled up can we be poured out, replacing the Love of Man with the Love of God, and bringing life more abundantly in its place.

Read the full article here.

View the trailer for Episode 2 of For the Life of the World below. Purchase the series here.

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World is an entertaining film series that explores the deeper meaning of Salvation. Have you ever wondered, “What is my Salvation actually FOR?” Is it only about personal atonement, about getting to heaven, or something that comes later? Is it just to have a “friend in Jesus?”

Join Evan Koons and his friends – Stephen Grabill, Amy Sherman, Anthony Bradley, Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins, Tim Royer and Dwight Gibson – as they discover a “new perspective,” the BIGGER picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it.” This seven-part film series will help you, your friends, church or organization investigate God’s Economy of All Things – OIKONOMIA (a Greek word that has a lot to say about God’s plan for his creation, the world, and us.)

This Combo Pack includes a letter from Evan and two discs for your player of choice: DVD and Blu-ray. Enjoy seven episodes around 20 minutes each, along with episode teaser videos, a series trailer, and bonus content.

Explore how God’s purposes are woven into every area of our lives: family, work, art, charity, education, government, recreation and all creation! The Bible calls us Strangers and Pilgrims, living in "the now and not yet" of God’s Kingdom Come on earth. We are also called to be salt and light, to have a transforming presence among our neighbors. Rediscover the role of the church and how our lives lived on earth matter in God’s plan for the world.

Designed for deep exploration, the series invites viewers to watch the series again for new insights. Also, check out the companion Field Guide to jump-start group and individual investigation and enhance the film experience! FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD Field Guides are available in print or via streaming access at

Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.