Friday, July 18, 2014

Love Revolution

I have developed a habit of paying closer attention to the small details in Scripture.  Sometimes the details that seem the smallest are the details that determine whether we are able to apply the Scriptures we read or not.
   Consider Colossians 3:5-15:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed,which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love,which binds them all together in perfect unity.
 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

The words that I highlighted are all action words. Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed....  all of those along with anger, malice, slander, lying, and filthy language do not just slip off of us when we become Christians.  We have to intentionally take them off, or put them to death.  When we become Christians, our flesh does not disappear.  We still have conflict between our flesh and the Spirit.  Paul describes it to the Colossians as "getting dressed".  It is something you have to do daily, and you choose every day what clothes to wear.  And what we wear says a lot about a person.  He is basically saying, "Get a new wardrobe!"  Get rid of the things that do not reflect Christ and clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, the things that do reflect Christ.  Your old clothes don't look good on you anymore.  

Put on love!!  Loving others the way Christ loves others is not always naturally easy.  It is something we must be intentional about.  We all encounter people on a daily basis who are not easy to love.  Biblical love is not loving others when it is easy, but loving others when it is hard.  Love is not always an emotion.  It's not always something we feel, but rather, something we do.  And it really isn't an option, it is an expectation.

Luke 6:32-36
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.  If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.  Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD has a ministry; a purpose, a way of drawing others to God.  They are all different, but no matter what it is, it has to be fueled by love...perfect love, selfless love, the love of Christ...or it is useless.  We can be Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, preachers, Bible study leaders, worship leaders, involved in community outreach, or maybe even overseas missions.  No ministry is small to God, but if it is not done out of pure love for Christ and the people he desires for you to serve, it is worthless.  

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, 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 do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Maybe what makes it hard to love the people it is hard to love is that we fail to realize that sometimes we (self) are THAT person.  Rarely does a person ever consider themselves one of those "hard to love" people.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8  God didn't show us his love by sending his son to die for us because we deserved it, but because we DIDN'T deserve it.  We were wretched sinners who deserved death!  What love!!!  What is expected of us us that we go and show the world this same love.  Not just love those who make it easy to love, but especially the ones who make it hard.  Perhaps those are the ones who need to know the love of Christ more than anyone else.  I believe it is time for a "Love Revolution"