We Must be Better Lovers

In the chapel service yesterday at our Christian school, I talked about love. Ever try to talk about love to 120 children without giggles and nudges? Yet, in spite of all the self-consciousness that the word creates, even a little child understands real love and hungers for the affirmation that is found in receiving affection. Sincere love says, “You matter to me!” Though we hunger deeply for it, enjoy giving and receiving it, genuine Love is actually quite rare. Because love is so wonderful, the enemy of God and good works hard to obscure the real thing, to divert us from knowing love and being loving by offering ‘false loves’ to take the place of the love that is “of God.”

At the top of the list of love substitutes would be sex. Our present American culture has so entangled sex and love that the terms are almost indistinguishable. Erotic attraction is a gift of God even though it is much abused and the source of many destructive temptations, but this love is not the highest or the most lasting kind of love.
Amazingly, religious zeal about the very Source of Love is quite effective in destroying love. How quickly we fall into loving our creed and/or ritual more than God Himself! Somehow we begin to believe that pursuing the love of God is about knowing ‘right’ things about Him. And tragically, love dies when Christians confuse being ‘right’ with knowing the life of the Spirit. Love perishes on the altar of orthodoxy so often, orthodox being defined as whatever ‘we’ believe to be true and right – Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Sacramental, Charismatic. Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, encouraging him not to get side-tracked into being ‘right’ at the expense of being loving. “Don’t let people waste time in endless speculation over myths and spiritual pedigrees. For these things only cause arguments; they don’t help people live a life of faith in God. The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith. But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they seem so confident.” (1 Timothy 1:4- 7, NLT)

Ego can step in to frustrate the expression of love. There is an innate love of self that is healthy. Even Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ If we come to despise ourselves, we become broken people, unhealthy emotionally and spiritually. But, self-love can never replace the love that is of God.
Believer, we can become better LOVERS and we must. God, in Christ Jesus, has loved us and from that ‘first cause’ has sparked in us the ability to love Him and others with abandon. Our high and holy calling, which also becomes a source of great purpose and peace is found in this word from the Word. Read it thoughtfully even though it may be familiar to you.

“My dear friends, we must love each other.
Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life.
We are now God’s children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him.
God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life.
Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us.
God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.
Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.”
(1 John 4:7-11, CEV)

Are you struggling with feelings of worthlessness today?
Are you tempted to try to find love’s affirmation in sex, expressions of ego, or fanatical religious practice?

Those things cannot heal your heart and secure your soul. Let God love you deeply today. By faith, receive the declaration that He loves you, not for your performance or pedigree, but because you are. Ask Him to help you to love someone else in that same way; not for their attractiveness or their usefulness or there intellect – but just because they are. Pay attention to a little child for a few moments. That will make your heart glad! Listen intently to a lonely elderly person in the supermarket aisle. Take on a volunteer task that makes someone’s world a little brighter. In these ways, and hundreds more, we become lovers like God.

“There are three things that will endure-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

_________________

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love,
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To my glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of ev’ry love the best!
‘Tis an ocean full of blessing,
‘Tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
‘Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!
Amen.
O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus
Francis, Samuel Trevor / Williams, Thomas J.
© Public Domain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: