Posts Tagged ‘Love’

The Day After…

Posted: February 15, 2018 in Blog
Tags: , , , ,

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.”

In more than one place it has been stated that the average attention span of Americans is just a few days. In conversation it might be about thirty seconds; in media, politics, and crisis it is only a matter of a few days before we move on to the next bit of news, which is inevitably followed by spewing moral outrage at the current condition of our country. Even so, the tide rolls on, the masses are sold a succeeding bit of entertainment, as the next disaster arrives on the shore.

Currently Planned parenthood and gay marriage seem to be the great evils of our day, dominating news and thoughts past the average attention span. If media sites, programs, and outlets have their way we will be taken by the next spectacle, as a distraction from previous matters.

These moral issues seem to be relatively constant in view of the public. But I need to ask, are these truly the issue? Are these matters truly the central evil? Are others going to hell because of these things? And is the opposite true, will others go to heaven in opposition to them? Putting it bluntly, is being heterosexual the passage to heaven, while homosexuality is the path to hell? I mean, should we be standing and fighting, as opposed to sitting back and shaking our heads? Should we wage political-cultural war and risk being know for what we oppose rather than for who we follow?

All of this, plus much more, has been haunting the heart of the church. Followers of Christ are inundated by dozens of pundits, bloggers, pastors, and opinion columns spouting the need for action and plausible solutions. Confusion abounds, as even more voices mock the Christian community for its response, demanding they adjust and fall in line, or risk the ridicule of being called unloving.

So what do we do? The ever so common phrase of theological liberals, “all things are spiritual,” justifying the celebration of these things seems to satisfy some. Some insist that we cannot fall under the criticism of being unloving, and thus loving others in the way they see fit, and not according to God’s definition of love. Then there is the option of making all out war upon those in favor of these political hot topics. These seem to be our only options.

Even so, along with others, I say there is another way. First, let’s not redefine anything according to cultural standards. I mean, let’s not give new meaning to love, spirituality, marriage, and truth even though the culture has been doing this for years.

Second, let’s not confuse the fruit with the root. As heinous as many of these polarizing issues are, they will not be what sends people to hell. They are merely the fruit of what is truly the problem. The root of these issues, and what will truly send people to hell, including the morally upright, is unrepentant hearts of self-righteousness. Clinging one’s own ability to please God, thereby forgetting God, is truly the greatest evil; which manifest itself in all manner of wicked behavior. We can be right on all moral causes, but if we’ve forgotten God we are guilty of great evil, which is the greatest evil we are to war against.

The solution is simple, but not easy. Preach the Gospel of God, preach the  Word of God. Do so in winsome, powerful, constant, and culturally connected ways. Do so, not as a ‘preacher’, but as a follower of Jesus Christ. Teach people about the gospel of God in Christ Jesus. Seek to undo the cultural misconceptions of gospel, love, marriage, spirituality, grace, and truth through the living and active Word of God. And when they despise and reject followers of Christ for such behavior, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”           1 Peter 4:12