Monday, July 19, 2010

Is love a Putdown or a Joy?

Some people like to use love as a weapon to put others down rather than build them up, to focus only on self and not others, and to listen to one’s own truth instead of to God’s true Truth. Thus, we see here that the characteristics of real Truth will be displayed in the faithful, not in the prideful. Here we are given an example of the positive fullness of real love and what it can do. That when it is not followed, it shows a church full of offense and not full of Christ, and then shows an empty church in need of the Truth of the Word by the Love of our Lord, just as these early Christians faced in Corinth (1 Cor. 4:6, 18-19; 5:2-8; 8:112:7; 14:3-26).

Yet, real Agape “love” is a love that is not earned or something to be merely desired; rather, it is sacrificial, relational, and given freely thus illuminating real Truth like a neon sign on a dark night. This is the love Christ exhibited as He walked this earth and this is the love He calls us, commands us to take as our standard to exhibit in our daily lives! Thus, it is not a natural trait found in or given to anyone who is not regenerated by Christ. It is about the ultimate Truth of Christ impacting us so we give our all—deep kindness and support—to someone other than self so we show Christ’s Truth, not our feeble relative truth, caught between our hurts and expectations. For love to be true, it must be beyond our selves and on the foundation of Christ and His Truth (Real love: Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).

This means to be full of joy and happy when the truth is spoken and prevails. We are to be motivated to trust God and always speak with and by truth. Thus, we can rejoice in all things, including hurts that people have done to us or could do, even suffering, because we have His Divine grace and love available to us as believers. Rejoicing happens when we realize life is not about our needs and plans; it is about how we can glorify our Lord, how can we be grateful, because Christ's work and suffering for our sins is sufficient for now and for eternity. Christ is sufficient and when we can take joy in all circumstances, then we will not worry about the small stuff. We can be happy in our personal lives even in the distress and difficulties of what we have been through and will go through in the future. We can see what God has done and is about to do, what has been accomplished, and how God has used us and worked in others' lives as well. We will feel extraordinarily joyful and content. When we see people come to the Lord, we can take heart and comfort that Christ is at work and in charge no matter what we face or have been through, so we can be happy in our work for Christ. The image is that Jesus takes our sorrows and turns them into joy (Ruth 3:2-7; Isa. 9:3; Ecc. 2:18; Matt. 24:21-22, 30; Luke 15:7-10, 32; 17:30; Acts 28:16-30; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 7:29; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; 4:7-12; Eph. 6:16; Phil. 2:12-13; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

A person who does not have real love will be resentful toward others; he/she will be overly sensitive and touchy and every little thing will bother and will escalate toward combat that leaves others hurt and that will fuel other’s anger and so forth. Love must stop us from taking ourselves too seriously and living in our past qualms and hurts so we can see our Lord and take His healing and be that example to others around us. Such a love that is set upon Truth will allow God’s Truth to flow in us and then we can set ourselves to His standard. We will not be controlled by hurt or resentment or allow pride to dictate our path or God’s plan in us or others. We will then be able to seek truth resulting in wise and healthy decisions, because our campus is God’s Truth, and love is the navigational beacon we follow. We will then have healthy and content lives that model His goodness and display His wonders, lives that exemplify our Lord Jesus Christ. Good decisions, together with truth and love, will make good lives and good judgments, because we will look to facts, options, and consequences instead of only seeing problems, obstacles, and moods. If not, we will be in the sea of inequity and chaos leading to dysfunction as we are consumed by our past failings and wounds, causing God’s witness in us to be skewed, clouded by pride and/or injury, and thus damaged and off course from His beacon of Truth and love (Phil. 3:15-16).


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