Friday, October 03, 2014

Love Dealers

If the God you believe in hates anyone, it’s not the same God that Jesus reveals. Jesus doesn’t hate anyone, and he told us that God doesn’t either. In fact, he told us, famously, that “God so loved the world” and that means everyone.

So, we cannot hate anyone and claim to be in Christ. Because to be in Christ is to be immersed in His other-worldly Agape love.

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 Jn. 4:19-20)

“For love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn. 4:7-8)

Therefore, the true test of whether or not we are filled with this Christ-like love or not is simply this: Do people around you feel loved?

If the people you live with, work with, engage with on a regular basis do not feel loved, then you might need to return to Christ to be filled again with the love that flows from Him alone.

For me, this has meant taking stock of my own relationships to see where I need to be filled anew with the love of Christ so that I can love others around me in practical ways.

So, do my co-workers experience the boundless love of Christ whenever I’m around? Uh…no. Not so much. Maybe. A little. But honestly? No.

Do my friends bask in the glow of God’s unmerited favor when I walk in the room? I wish. But, again, no.

What about my family? Well, yes. I think so. I mean, I hope so, anyway. I do try to let them know I love them in different ways.

So, sadly, it appears that there’s still more space between the man Jesus intends me to be and the man I am at this exact moment. The Good News being that Jesus knows this, and he still loves me. In fact it is his intention to transform me from the inside out. One day I will be like Jesus. That’s his promise. [See 1 John 3:2]

For now, I suppose the reality of all of this is that we all need more of Jesus. It can’t be good enough to simply “not hate” people. (Although that’s a wonderful place to start and certainly a base level standard for anyone who claims to be “in Christ” to adopt).

But, no, we have a higher calling from our Lord, Jesus, don’t we? Love is our birthmark. Love is what sets us apart. Love is our whole deal. We can’t simply admit our failure when it comes to following Christ and then continue to go on failing to follow Jesus – as if that’s an acceptable status quo for someone who is following the most radical person who ever lived.

Once we admit that His love is not in us, and that we fall short in the practice of that love, our reaction should be to run as hard and as fast as we can to fall at the feet of Jesus and begin to soak up as much of Him and His love as we possibly can. Because we need it, and because the world needs it. Because the whole world is dying for it and we actually have free access to it, anytime we want.

Either we truly believe that Jesus and His love are truly the only hope this world will ever have, or we don’t.

If we don’t, then let’s stop pretending that we are following Jesus and get on with whatever it is that we’re doing.

But, if we really do believe that Jesus is our only hope, and that the love of Jesus is the only force in the universe capable of transforming each and every one of us into the image of Christ, then let’s start living out that faith. Let’s turn back to Jesus. Let’s abide in Him. Let’s ask Him to fill us with more of Himself, and His love, right now.

“No one has ever seen God; (but) if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 Jn. 4:12)

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 Jn. 4:16)

Lord Jesus, please come live and breathe in me today. Teach me to love like you.


1 comment:

the alternative1 said...

yes very true--but I do not think that the problem is that we need more of jesus but that we need less of ourselves--oh and don't forget that jesus felt frustrated with his disciples and he had serious arguments with the religious folks plus he was angry with the guys in the temple--hate is equal with murder-its ok to be human just don't become satanic about it.