"BUT THE LORD SAID TO ME...'YOU MUST GO TO EVERYONE I SEND YOU TO AND SAY WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM, FOR I AM WITH YOU AND WILL RESCUE YOU.'" --JER.1:7,8
"'STAND UP AND SAY TO THEM WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU...TODAY I HAVE MADE YOU A FORTIFIED CITY, AN IRON PILLAR AND A BRONZE WALL TO STAND AGAINST THE WHOLE LAND. THEY WILL FIGHT AGAINST YOU BUT WILL NOT OVERCOME YOU FOR I AM WITH YOU AND WILL RESCUE YOU,' DECLARES THE LORD.'" --JER.1:17-19
Friday, December 17, 2010
WHAT GOD CARES ABOUT
LOVE IS THE ONE THING GOD CARES ABOUT
BECAUSE LOVE MAKES US LIKE HIM
“For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son…”
Many of us who claim to follow Jesus know little about love, and care little about love. We care about purity of doctrine. We care about maintaining the traditions of church order handed down to us. We care about fulfilling the religious duties that we believe in. We care about the people around us to the extent they care about us. We care about the things around us that affect us, and our lives are spent working to create some sort of sensible, secure arrangement for ourselves that will also include the people we are comfortable with, and will keep us away from those involvements and those people we are not comfortable with.
Is this approach to life anything like our Father’s?
“God so loved…”
God loved so much, it says, that He gave the most precious thing He owned to us, so that we might know He loves us.
Love is the one thing God cares about. Above we talked about the many things we care about. So if we aren’t like God, in that we don’t love like He does, then how can we claim we know Him?
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…
Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:16b,7b,8
I submit to you this one life-shattering truth this day. If you and I are not living lives of love, we do not know God, no matter what we may say to the contrary.
“Be imitators of God, therefore,
as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ gave Himself up for us…”
If this is so important, then why aren’t we talking about it with each other daily, and praying together about it, and seeking our Father about it every moment? Love is the theme of Scripture, from beginning to end. It is the essence of God’s life, and the motivation for all He does. Love is of God, and God is love.
God loved so much that He made us, though He knew what we would do, what we would be like, how ugly and hateful we would be able to be toward Him. He has worked with mankind for these many centuries, patiently calling, patiently putting up with our hatred, our sin, our discord, our chasing after other gods we have fashioned with our own hands. We are a violent, self-absorbed, terrible creation.
Yet the love of God is so massive, so strong, so universe-encompassing, He continues to keep us around just so He can love us, and bring us to His great heart of love, and run down the lane to us, hugging us and throwing a banquet for us when we finally come to our senses.
Do we love like this?
We live in a world of hate.
Hatred dominates the headlines. Bad news born out of man’s flawed character—that unregenerated character that produces evil, malice, lust, and hatred—is the vast bulk of all news.
Yet our society talks about love all the time. Our commercials even depict love as something that applies to cars, or cell phones, or mops, or food. And romantic love, spiced up by amazing sex, is the holy grail that seemingly solves all our problems. We want love, yet in our greed we twist it and pervert it into a man-made idol to serve our own lusts. Love has become a word that means nothing and everything, that is as amorphous as fog, and about as real as Middle Earth.
So where do Christians fit into this world of lies and deception, of hatred and evil?
Simple answer: WE DON’T.
We don’t fit in, because we can’t fit in, any more than Jesus can fit into this depraved world.
Love is the true mark of God on men’s lives, as has been noted in Scripture throughout Old and New Testaments. Not religious observance and tradition, but real, observable, compassionate, kind, gentle, patient love between brothers and sisters in Christ. This love extends even to our enemies.
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34,35
Let us examine ourselves today--in the brilliant light of God’s Word--not in the low, dim light of men’s religious expectations. Let’s ask God to throw the bright glowing light of His Word on our lives. Let Him show us the incredible, world-changing love He has for us and for others, and let’s pray that the Spirit empowers us to live lives of love, like our wonderful, loving Father and His Son Jesus.