Friday, September 25, 2009

Love the Lord your God And Then Others

Good morning my friends. Another glorious day of freedom and service to our Lord. There is so much to do today but I pray that it does not stop us from living life to its fullest. Enjoy God. Enjoy one another.

Jesus was very kind to sum up the entire law into two commands; love God with all your passion and love others as if they were yourself. Only two problems with that; we struggle to love God even in a normal sense and we really don't care all that much for other people. Many would argue these points with me but if we are honest we would admit that we are pretty messed up. My theory on why we are pretty messed up is that most of the Church has never experienced Jesus.

People excuse this by saying that love is a decision and that they know (with their mind) that Jesus loves them. They treat it like a mathematical problem or a science theory. I agree that there are days when we have moved away from Jesus that we no longer feel that love and have to rely on our knowledge but love is also an emotion. Love involves passion. Love involves moments of being totally overwhelmed, lost in an emotional response. It is a decision but it is a decision based on a total response. Listen to how Jesus describes this love that we are to have for God:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:30)

Please note, with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength. It requires a total response from our entire being. This kind of response is only possible when we have actually been overwhelmed by the experience of God's love. Without this experience we cannot fulfill the second part, to love others as if they were us.

The reason I am convinced that the majority of people do not know this love is because of the way we treat each other. The Church has always treated its own poorly because we have not known Jesus properly. This was part of the problem with the Galatians:

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 5:13-15

Biting and devouring are good words to describe what we unfortunately find in churches. Why was it evident in the church of Galatia? I think the reason is obvious:

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? v. 7

They had wondered away from the Lord. Their love was cold and without the first command we cannot fulfill the second. The solution is a simple one; not only make Jesus your everything again but fan into flame that passion for him again.

How do we fan such a flame of passion again? First, spend time with him. I mean treat Jesus like he is right there with you because he is. Talk to him about everything in your day, like a friend. Better yet, like the lover of your soul that he is. Sing to him. Take a time in the day to worship. There are thousands of worship songs on Tangle and YouTube. I like using my supper preparation time. Sometimes my kids join in. There are many versions of the various songs with the lyrics provided. Allow them to ignite that passion again. Study the Word for his promises. Understand what the great lover of your soul has promised and then live those promises. Talk about him with other people. Talk about the things you have discovered about him. Talk about the prayers he has answered. Talk about how much you love him. And pray with people. Don't pray on your own. Call someone and pray together.

Remember though that your love for him is only a response to his greater love for you. Instead of trying to love him try discovering and experiencing his love for you. It will happen in the worship, the praying, the talking, the studying. It will rush in like a great wave and your response will be heart felt worship. Then you will be ready to love others with a love similar to what you have experienced from him; filled with mercy, grace, forgiveness.

When the Church rediscovers his love for us we will become that refuge for the lost; a place of forgiveness and healing. Without that experience of love we are no more spiritual than the Rotary and Kiwanis club. Great community service groups but not a place of healing and restoration. Let the Church lose its reputation as destroyer of souls; let's be overwhelmed by his love and then overwhelm each other with grace, mercy and forgiveness.

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