A Big, Big House Newsletter Archives
Contact Me
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Affiliate Ad

    Recommended Reading
    • Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters (Complete In One Volume)
      Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters (Complete In One Volume)
      by C.S. Lewis
    • Toxic Faith
      Toxic Faith
      by Stephen Arterburn, Jack Felton
    • The Visitation
      The Visitation
      by Frank Peretti
    • Fox's Book of Martyrs
      Fox's Book of Martyrs
      by John Foxe

    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Lessons from Oblivion | The Greatest Commandment »
    Saturday
    Sep252010

    All About Love and You

    To respect God, but not love Him: To love God, but not respect (fear) Him. Can one be a true Christian lacking either? I do not feel I can answer that with conviction, but I feel it is important to take a closer look.

     

    To respect or fear God without loving Him denotes there is no loving relationship with Him. We may respect those in authority over us because of their power, ingenuity, leadership skills, and/or seniority, but there is no loving friendship or father/child status implicit in this.

     

    The flip side is acknowledging and nurturing the loving friendship and father/child status between people and God, but forgetting He does not always give us what we want for good reason or sincerely thinking we don’t owe Him anything since He erased our debt.

     

    One extreme end of the spectrum are those who believe God is “up there”, ready to “smite” them for the smallest infraction. At the opposite extreme are those who believe Jesus is their physical, sensual lover.

     

    God isn’t interested in well-meaning or mindless traditions, rituals, or sacrifices. He is interested in actual, loving, relationships with people. It’s great to know the Bible, it’s awesome to pray, and it is a very good thing to fellowship with other believers.

     

    Indeed, God tells us to do all these things and more in the Bible. But all these things are meaningless without love (And if God is love, we might say all these things are meaningless without God). Not merely love for people, but first and foremost love for God.

     

    I think we tend to read all those love versus like 1 Corinthians 13 in the context of how our love for others should look. This is right (I think), however we need to understand this is how God’s love for us is as well.

     

    It may be a good practice to reread 1 Corinthians 13 in this way; God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast. He is not proud, He is not rude, He is not self-seeking. He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. He always protects…and always perseveres. God never fails.

     

    With the word “love” being tossed around (especially in popular media) to describe what is really everything from lust to obsession, possession, serious interest, and self-sacrifice, “love” is put into human terms and definitions. “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

     

    And we are to reciprocate by “Lov[ing] the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Luke 10:27). As a nation, I think we commendably have the “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) portion of the command down pat.

     

    The USA is still the most generous country in the world. But the first and most important part of that verse is to love God with everything you’ve got [See article: “The Greatest Commandment” in the archives of this blog].

     

    Even reading 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 takes on a much more significant meaning if we interchange “God” for “love”:

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not God, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not God, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not God, I gain nothing. 

     

    Spiritual gifts (both of the Christian and non-Christian type), revealing mysteries, causing things “to happen”, generosity, philanthropy, and self-sacrifice even unto death are all huge themes in modern films, books, and belief systems.

     

    These qualities are viewed as proofs of love for others, especially self-sacrifices resulting in death. Bella* may be willing to sacrifice herself for her mother, Harry Potter may sacrifice himself for the ignorant world, and Ofelia** may sacrifice herself for her baby brother, but without God (which none of them have nor desire), self-sacrifices, spiritual gifts, spiritual knowledge, and generosity mean and accomplish nothing.  

     

    Why? It is because God is the originator of love. God is love. How can we expect to be full to the brim of real love apart from the One who created it? “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

     

    Doing things out of a sense of duty, obligation, loyalty, and ethics are not wrong. But love –the kind outlined by God in the Old Testament [Look for an article soon]; the love defined in 1 Corinthians 13-must be involved.

     

    We also cannot pass things off on “destiny” like in the Matrix. Love does not always appear soft (like when Dad took the car keys for a bad report card). We may not see the health, wealth, or fame we desire or think are best for us. But love always has the best interests of other people at heart, soul, mind, and strength.

     

    “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:16-21)


     

    *Bella is the female protagonist in the wildly popular Twilight series of books (now films) by Stefanie Meyer.

    **Ofelia is the female protagonist in the acclaimed 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth.

    [More on Twilight and Harry Potter to come. For more info on Pan’s L., click here]

     

     

    Read more love verses below…

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

     

    Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies (Psalm 36:5).

     

    How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 36:7).

     

    Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love (Psalm 48:9).

     

    But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever (Psalm 52:8).

     

    But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).

     

    Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever (Psalm 136:26).

     

    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

     

    The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

     

    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

     

    Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends John 15:13).

     

    As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9).

     

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

     

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

     

    Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).

     

    But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-5).

     

    This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

      

    And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:16

    We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4:19-20

    This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. - 1 John 3:10
    So be very careful to love the LORD your God. - Joshua 23:11

    I love you, O LORD, my strength. - Psalm 18:1

    Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' – Matthew 22:37-39

     

     

    

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>