Live Love, Part 1

god-is-love

Before the New Year, God to told me to study on walking in love.  I did a word search on eSword and came up with an extensive list (it’s an important subject!).  I divided up the verse by categories and came up with “Live Love” but with a smaller list of verses so my readers wouldn’t get overwhelmed!  I hope your 2018 is filled with the love of God as you choose to walk in it!

When we think of the word “love,” we usually get a warm feeling inside.  We think of love in a positive way, as love is portrayed – in most cases – as something good.  Marriage is based on love.  Parenting is based on love.  Missions and outreach is based on love – or at least it should be.

Unfortunately love in our culture has become a broad description of many things.  We “love” Italian food.  We “love” our new sports car.  We “love” our jobs.  According to the Word of God, however, this form of love is not true love.  This is a pleasant feeling or “like” toward something.  This “like” ends when the newness or emotion of it fades over time. 

True love is not based on emotions.  It is based on a choice to put others before ourselves, regardless of how we feel.  It’s deeper, more valuable, and more lasting than what any definition of love could be.

What Is Love?

While the world may define love as warm, fuzzy feelings toward another human being, or perhaps even their pet, the Word’s definition is not “what” but “Who.”  God is love.

(1John 4:8 KJV)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(1John 4:16 KJV)  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Where Is Love?

God not only is love but He has placed that love in our hearts the moment we were saved.  We don’t need to strive to walk in love; it is right there in us if we’ll just let it guide us!

(Romans 5:5 KJV)  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

(Galatians 5:22 KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith . . .

God Loves Us

The glorious thing about Love is that Love loves us!  It’s not just that Love exists; but Love has extended His nature toward us – even when we didn’t deserve it!

(John 15:9 KJV)  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

(John 17:26 KJV)  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

(Romans 5:8 KJV)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

To be continued…

Too Busy for Jesus, Part 1

busy (1)

Our world addicted to busy.  We live constantly on the go, flying here and flying there to accomplish a self-imposed to-do list. In the process, unfortunately, we put attending sports games over church attendance.  We place vacation spending above tithing.  We spend our time listening to the news rather than reading our Bibles.  We give more attention to our latest hobby than serving in our church and community.  We forego our prayer time to spend more time at the office.  Even house work and parenting (my personal challenge!) can take the place of spending time with Jesus.

While “doing things” and “making money” can all produce good results, when put in the wrong order of life’s priorities, it can lead to putting Jesus second . . . or very last.   This grieves the heart of God as He has spent all His time and energy on us.

Work First

One of the most well-known examples of “too busy” is the story of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10:38-42:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Hospitality is a godly character trait.  We are all called to serve others in many ways.  But Martha suffered from something our culture knows very well: over-working while leaving out what’s most important.  Jesus, however, stressed that all her scurrying about wasn’t the greatest priority, as much of a good deed serving was.  It was time with Him that held the most value.  Martha didn’t understand that the “good part” of having Jesus in her home wasn’t what she could do for Him, but what she could do with Him.

Another example of misplaced priorities is found in Luke 9:59-62:

 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Again, Jesus is not opposed to honoring our deceased family.  This potential disciple, however, wanted to fulfill his obligations before following Jesus. He hesitated, or “looked back.”  His priority was a good deed, not a relationship. He desired to put something first before Jesus.

Nothing these two people were doing was wrong.  Their error was that they were putting everything but Jesus first.  They were more concerned with the temporary needs of the present to see and act on what was the highest priority.

Things First

An example of putting possessions first is found in Matthew 19:16-22:

 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”  So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’  and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Once again, having wealth and many possessions is not wrong.  One of God’s desires is that we prosper for the sake of the Gospel (3 John 2, 2 Corinthians 9:8). However, the heart of this man’s priorities was greed.  He loved his possessions more than he loved Jesus.  Those “things” possessed him more than he possessed them.

Me First

 When we look at the priority choices in these stories, the repetitive motivation for their error was a focus on “me.”  It seemed like Martha’s priority was focused on others, when it was focused what she thought was most important at the time. The man wishing to bury his father still had his focus on his own personal concerns.  The rich young ruler was obviously focused on pleasuring himself with money.

Sometimes we prioritize based on worry because we don’t think we’ll succeed, or selfishness because we want our way first. Even worry is an indication that our priority is in the situation, not in a Person.  The focus is still on ourselves because we’re concerned about what will happen to us if something doesn’t go as it should.  We may think we’ve got the proper order of priorities, when the first Priority we have has been choked out by the “cares of life”, “deceitfulness of riches,” and the “lust for other things” (Mark 4:15-19).

To be continued…

 

Image courtesy of google images