Monday, August 31, 2009

Real love is Altruistic!

True love is also empathetic and seeks to lift others up. When we are just self-seeking, we are selfish and unconcerned with eternal values or with serving our Lord. By doing this, we fall into a trap, not because of God’s vengeance, but because we are not doing as we should. As a result, natural consequences will take over. God’s precepts are for our benefit and protection; He gives us what is best for us, just as loving parents would do for their child. The fullness of love makes our relationships real and centered upon godly directions. By not placing ourselves first, we are able to place Christ first and we end up with a better deal. We can seek the love of 1 Corinthians 13, and this will compel us to share our richness as Christians with both ourselves and with others. So, out of our completeness in Christ, we can build ourselves up in Him, casting away what has hurt us, what causes us to fear, and what is wrong, replacing it all with biblical character and values. This will be the foundation upon which to create the lasting bonds with Christ and others, as we glorify our Lord and live in and for His Church (Prov. 10:12; Matt. 6:33; John 12:24; Eph. 5:15-21; Phil. 2:21; Col. 1:13).

Being self-seeking is like being rude and arrogant; it is the opposite of real, impacting love. It causes us to disrespect, humiliate, undermine, put down or show up another person either subtly or adversely. This is an aspect of pride and/or hurriedness, which are the direct opposites of our call and the teaching of our Lord. We must see that being offensive and selfish are awful attitudes and are the opposites of real love and kindness. This will ruin our relationships and potential relationships with others because we are deluded by our own self-perception or stuck in our hurts, fears, and circumstances. When we are doing things that are not nice or acting improperly, we push people away and thus we derail our opportunities and call. Behaving selfishly and badly will dishonor our God!

Greed, stinginess, selfishness, and miserliness are rotten fruits because we hoard what God has given us, what He meant for us to share, and we do not use it properly as Christ called us to do. This blocks the flow of God’s blessings and His “living water” from flowing in us. We will become stagnant and useless to either the Kingdom or the people around us. Pride and arrogance will be the driving force—the quintessential things that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-18)!

Thus, a key aspect of love means we are not selfish. How do we know if we get this right? If you are not caring for others outside of your circle, then you are demanding your own way because your pride is in the way of His Way, and evil is on its way to you and from you! Our lives will be a false dedication to things that are not centered upon His will. We cannot earn our way, but our way must reflect His work (Rom. 6:12; Eph. 5:15-17; Col. 3:5; 1 Pet. 2:24)!

The fullness of love will come when we are first seeking Christ and His work in us, so we are pursuing righteousness and all that is good as a way to glorify Christ as Lord. What we all need to be doing is applying what we have been given, our completeness in Christ applied to our relationships; from friendships to fellowship, even dating all come from our service and mission for His glory. And, it is to be the same in ministry and in marriage. This is real, authentic love that is essential—not only in our faith development, but also in how we prepare ourselves to build relationships and interrelate with others.

Questions to Ponder

1. What causes you to be selfish? How does being selfish relate to being spiteful or condescending? How do you think Jesus feels about it?

2. What can your church do better to honor the rights and dignity of other people, and never force their will and thoughtless behaviors onto others (not compromising the Gospel)? How would this improve your evangelism and church growth?

3. Love is the seeking of His truth, and finding a way to bring it to others. How is this also how we are to relate to one another and do evangelism?

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