Monday, August 31, 2009

Love is not Self-Seeking!

When God tells us that love is not self-seeking, He means that we are never to take advantage of others. We are to be empathic, placing others before ourselves. We are to be considerate, appreciative, and never critical. We are never to plot evil or allow insults to get to us. We are to make allowances for the shortcomings of others. Our call is to lift one another up, and be dignified, having good conduct yet never dictating to one another our standards, or demanding or manipulating others to get our way. Rather, we are to model Christ-like character so it is contagious and inviting. Because God loved us so much, He never had a self-seeking attitude. If He had, He would never have sent His Son on our behalf. Every Christian must respect the rights and dignity of other people, and never force his/her will and thoughtless behavior onto others. We cannot force expectations or demands on our friends or our spouse. We need to be happy when others around us experience success and growth, and never be jealous. Love is the seeking of His truth, and finding a way to bring it to others.

Love is the supreme example of our Lord and our supreme asset and model for living. There is nothing greater in God’s economy than His propensity to love, and our obedience is to follow suit! Another vital aspect of real, biblical, Christian love is that it is extreme! Real love takes us beyond who we are and what we want and focuses us upon others as Christ did with us. Thus, love is not about our feelings or being overly cautious, sappy or over-romantic, or clever and manipulative. Rather, real love takes us to the the extreme. If the love we think we have for something or someone does not takes us beyond our self interests, we do not have real love; we just have desires, pride, and lust. Thus, what we have has no real value to anyone or to God and it definitely does not protect

To be good, we have to own a renewed nature and mindset from our Lord. Jesus calls us to an entirely different perspective and outlook of life. He sees the quintessential reason for life and our essence to be in relationships. He wants us to transition our thinking from selfish and materialistic matters to eternal matters and relationships, which are far more valuable and important. With love as our motivation, and unselfishness as our goal, loyalty and faithfulness to God and to others can be built. In addition, our attitude and mindset will also improve so when we face trials, setbacks, and hurts, we will be better able to handle difficult people and our hurts and fears. We will be able to take tricky and complicated circumstances and learn and grow from them rather than fume and rant and rave, none of which do anything to help us. This is the outcome of being strengthened in the Word and growing in the Spirit by our prayer life, devotions, learning, and fellowship and then putting them all into practice as we walk through life. The result is a deeper love and an ability to endure what life throws at us (Matt. 5:38-44; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16-20.

When a Christian is giving from selfish motives, he or she expects a return for his or her “investment.” When a real, growing, mature Christian gives, he/she expects nothing in return. One investment is eternal, while the other so-called Christian investment is of the world of today.

Questions to Ponder

1. How would you define being selfish or self-seeking? Why does real love not take advantage of others?

2. Do you think a deeper understanding that God loves you could help you be more polite and less selfish? How so?

3. How can modeling Christ-like character be contagious and inviting for others to examine and except our faith?

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