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The Day After…

Posted: February 15, 2018 in Blog
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Valentines day, baa-hum-bug! It is not as though I don’t have a special someone to love, nor is it that I’m into airing grief. Those who grind their axes in regularly scheduled  complaint sessions are often filled with sarcastic whining, but mostly it is faithless jesting, which are both contrary to walking by faith in Jesus Christ.

Back to Valentines day, it is just silly. One must sacrifice a card & chocolates upon the alter of St. Valentine or suffer wrath. If this ritual isn’t kept the gods of feminist idealism pronounce the worthlessness of man, at which time he must be slain in the public eye for being an unfeeling brute. It is curious to note in this age of equality, women don’t have the same demand placed upon them during this day. It is as though the differences between men and women are embraced when… Sorry, I digress.

Don’t worry, I’m taking my wife to dinner. We will go and hang out, catch up, and enjoy each other when we get time, and by God’s grace we have had sixteen years of making time for regular hang outs. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m gonna spend time with my favorite person on the planet. That’s why I may buy a card, or get chocolates, or get flowers, cause she is awesome, not because it is a mandate upon which I’ll suffer the wrath of cultural expectation if I don’t comply. The mopey wife doesn’t illicit fear in me to produce a bouquet of flowers. The insistence of a fallen notion of love and the consumer driven ideal has no power here! valentines-day-memes-15

There is a complexity to love that is beyond our ability to comprehend. A scheduled day, oddly tied to a martyr, where we submit to the cultural pressure, cannot even begin to plumb the depths of love. Some may take issue with this statement. However, if said objectors define love by the pretense of Hollywood, modern pop psychology, the latest Oprah show, or a juggling monkey down at MiniMart; then I’m not too far off, mankind has difficulty understanding the complexity of genuine love.

Love is not defined by a feeling at any give moment, or a gift given in that moment, or even by the favor of a person in any given circumstance. Favor can be given, as well as a gifts without genuine love. If love were defined in such a manner, as stuff given and favor presented in a particular moment, which experience demonstrates is fleeting, there would be as much comfort and joy as being locked in a closet with an orangutan using a slide whistle. Let that image sink in for a minute…

Love is complex, like so many other things, because it has perversions and counterfeits. But it is also complex because genuine love does not stem from the emotive center of a person, which is how so many people intuitively identify love. On the contrary, genuine-Christ-like-love is decisive action leading the heart to feel a particular way. This manner of love for others could never be achieved apart from the person Jesus Christ.

That’s enough about what love is and what it is not, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Whether it be for your sweetheart, or your neighbor, or your sworn enemy – Let love be genuine. Don’t let love be a put on, don’t let it be a facade to satisfy the cultural gods. That isn’t from faith, but it becomes a form of religious pretense. Do the faith-filled-God-empowered-Jesus-loving-hard-work of being a genuinely loving person. The depth of genuine love is beyond the scope of strong feelings toward someone. Love is not founded in general niceness, or mutual affirmation. .

So how do you love someone who doesn’t like you, or support you, or who isn’t nice to you, or who hurts you? How do you love those you don’t like, or support, or whom you haven’t been nice? Or how do you love the ones who are closest to you? The answer is simple. Look to Christ, the manner of love he gave, the manner of love He calls us to, and the manner of love He empowers.

Romans 12:9-10, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

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“A want of love to one another,” is a serious issue, it cannot be ignored. So many people want love, but do not have love. There are those who will do anything to get love, but fail to grasp Love. Few comprehend, it is in giving that we shall receive. The love sick masses line up for romantic tales, paltry images of feigned love-illdefined, or just lustful escapades that promise fulfillment, only to discover their love quest leaves them empty once again.

The past few blogs I have written concerning the problems that face the church. C.H. Spurgeon wrote that one of those things was a want of love to one another. Now, this is not love as the world would define it, but it is defined as God would command. It is something that our society wants with great urgency. There is a demand for love, but and unwillingness to truly seek genuine love.

Scripture communicates the necessity of love. We are to love at all times, we are to love the unlovely, we are to even love our enemy, all of which are not terribly romantic ideas. Apart from Christ these manners of love and charity are impossible.

Love is not only for those who affirm us, or whom we like, but it is also for those whom we have a mutual sharing in the things of Christ. If Christians hate each other they must question their profession of faith in Christ. In 1 John 3:14 we read, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

If a want of love for Christians is in a Christian’s heart, repentance is in order. A Christian’s response to this admonition is important. Some will respond with self-doubt & loathing, which is wounded pride; others are irritated with the teaching, while justifying their own actions; others fail to see their loveless hearts, denying their need, and the truth. Self-examination leading to repentance is necessary for all. Followers of Christ cannot reflect the world and its ignorance regarding love.

A quick look in the Word evidences love as a felt need of the Word. John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love…” Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Galatians 5:13, “…only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Natural man doesn’t love appropriately, if at all. Christians receive from God’s Word the call to love over and again. Leading to the maybe-not-so-obvious-need, for those whom are in Christ, to love one another.

It may be in vogue to slander the church, produce de-conversion stories, or simply blame the church for rejecting God. God’s Word beckons His children to love one another. If honesty prevails, people, all people, even Christian people, struggle to let love be genuine. A supernatural response of people is to love one another, thus in Christ, His people labor to figure love out.

Even though the natural man is constantly searching for somethings they may consider to be love. Apart from Christ this itch will never be satisfied.

Ephesians 4:15–16, “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

We have known churches where the members can scarcely sit down at the Lord’s Table without some disagreement. There are always people who are finding fault with the minister, and there are ministers finding fault with the people; there is among them “a spirit that lusteth to envy,” and “where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”… Alas! How continually do we hear accounts of disputings and variance in churches!” C.H. Spurgeon

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“A want of love to one another,” is Spurgeon’s descriptor. Hundreds of years ago the want of love was present, even in the early church the want of love was present, thus the plentiful Scripture passages regarding the need of love to one another.

Please don’t misunderstand, my intent isn’t to slander of the Bride of Christ. All too common is a slanderous spirit toward the church, where people are all too willing to join in and say the church is loveless. Spurgeon’s point isn’t that of a disgruntled church goer who is disenfranchised.  Those deprived and marginalized souls who accuse blame, and condemn the church for almost every slight, injustice, or social problem are those who view the church as a service provider and who are part of the problem.

Somehow the cutting edge of some modern religious movements has become the rejection of systematized and organized church. You aren’t cool and Jesusy if you don’t bemoan the errors of the church and meet in someone’s house. It is as if spirituality is measured by how much one can reject anything that is a tradition handed down.

What is replacing the old models? It has been replaced with either chaos, or modern consumer driven paradigms that provide the product of choice, at the moment, according to fickle consumptive desire. With this attitude the Bride of Christ is despised and not loved. This rejection is a multifaceted cacophony of opinion, where authenticity, genuineness, and spontaneity presume to fix all that ales the church.

The church always can mature, we always need to be reforming and cutting away the cultural blinders. Loving the church and love for our brothers is part and parcel of this demeanor. Jesus loved the church, he commanded that we love the church, and the manner of love for the church we possess is a marker of our faith in Christ. John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is not as though Christians need to love ecclesiastical structures, heritage, or traditions. What is being stated, is that the manner of love for one another determines the manner in which those items are handled.

The church is the vehicle of God’s own choosing for spreading the fame of His name among the nations. We gather to love one another, worship, and be sent out into the world as missionaries; to be salt and light to the world. Let us not give way to the cultural religious trend of rejecting the church. Let us not fall victims to the classic blunder of getting so deeply involved in church structure that we fail to actually love the church.  A want of love for one another undercuts God honoring actions of the church, but love for one another demonstrates the glory of the One we worship.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24–25