Sunday, October 24, 2010

Worldly love vs Godly love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy;love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 
1 John 3:1a - "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God!.."
Colossians 3:14 - "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection."

There are so many verses that focus on the way that God loves, and the way that we in turn are expected to love  Him and others. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain  on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Jesus explains the difference between how God loves and how the world loves. The world loves when it is easy, convenient, and useful. The world offers false love, as demonstrated in 2 Samuel 15, where David's son Absalom "stole the hearts of the men of Israel" (vs 6) with his wit and charm and smooth words. He stole the affection of the people away from his father and ultimately away from God. Absalom later led a rebellion against David and ended up dying by a soldier's hand because he got caught in a tree during a battle... weird story, you guys should definitely get in on that. 

Worldly love is summed up in 1 John 2:15-17 - "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (emphasis added).  Those verses are a perfect example of what the outcome of each type of love is. With God's love, we get to abide forever with our Creator. And we know from John 14:15 that "If you love Me (Jesus), keep my commandments.", and that the greatest commandment in the law is "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37); so it goes to show that following God's will is how we show our love for Him. 

However, with the world's love, the Father is not in us, and we are not of the Father but of the world, which is passing away - meaning that instead of abiding forever with the Lover of our Souls, we would also pass away and out of His presence. That seems pretty harsh, but God and the world (more specifically, sin) are polar opposites. If you love the world (which means the sin in it) then you cannot love God. If you love God, then you cannot love sin. And you can't ride the fence because Satan owns the fence. It's not possible to serve God and sin (I can't find where that reference is...). Also, if you're lukewarm, God wants to projectile vomit you out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16), which in my mind doesn't allow for dwelling forever with God - that lines up more with passing away with the world.

And with all of that, I've realized that I often revert to the world's way of loving. I'll love my friends and I'll love my family and I'll love when it's convenient - just as anyone in the world would do. That doesn't distinguish me from any nonChristian. That prevents me from sharing God's love with those people that I can't find it in me to love with God's love. Serving is a form of love, and I'll gladly serve some people over others - if someone I like asks me to do something that's time and money consuming, I'll do it gladly and without complaining. But the minute someone who I don't particularly like asks the same thing, I shut down and if I end up doing it, it's not done in a  joyful way and it's definitely full of whining. I've been convicted by the love described in 1 Corinthians lately. I'm just glad that God is patient with me and that He's brought it to my attention. Loving is hard - but it's what God wants. Loving others is loving God. I'm thankful that God gives us His love when we have none of our own to give, essentially becoming our strength in times of weakness. My prayer is that He'll fill me with His love so that I can use that overflow and depend on Him to love those whom I wouldn't love on my own. 

God bless :)

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