Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Dare You Today To Live A Day Of Mature Love

Between you and me there are some pretty strange teachings going on in the Church. They have been around for decades, coming from the tradition of man but treated as gospel. For some people it is a sin to watch television, go to the movies or attend a dance. I am not saying that these are necessarily healthy activities and participants need to use discernment, but you aren't going to lose your redemption because of it. Then there are things like women not wearing pants, no jewelry, make up or braids. People who teach this lack maturity in the Word and find it easier to live by a law than by the freedom Jesus has given to us.

Jesus revealed the root of the law to us which is love. If we apply God's type of love to everything we do and everything we say then we will find ourselves fulfilling that which the law was intended. It also governs what type of movie we will go to see and what television shows we will watch. If we love God with our entire being we would never want to partake in anything that would dishonour him. Love governs us. It would also reveal how silly man's traditions are. How is it love to not wear make-up or jewelry? Those traditions are superficial and have nothing to do with our purpose.

However, in love, we would never dishonour anyone who is still governed by such traditions. In love we would restrict our own freedom so as not to offend them. If my wife and I were going to spend some time with people who held to these traditions she would not wear make-up or jewelry. She isn't being two-faced about it; she is honouring our friends because of love. The apostle Paul gives us an example:

If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake — the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. (1 Corinthians 10:27-29)

When Paul asked Timothy to come along with him and Silas on their missionary journey he asked Timothy to get circumcised. It is not because Paul saw any value in circumcision but because he wanted to honour those to whom they would be ministering. Paul strongly believed that under the new covenant it is our heart that is circumcised. Circumcision had to do with the old covenant and we are now under the new. Yet, out of love and respect Paul was willing to become all things to all people.

I saw an example of this a while back. Some friends had some of my children over for a meal so they could play with their children. I had taken a vow against alcohol so my children never saw alcohol at a meal before. When my friends poured a glass of wine to have with their meal I guess my son's eyes bugged out. My friend noticed and asked if I ever had wine with my meal. When my son said no my friend immediately poured the wine back and put it away. This spoke volumes to me about the man's spiritual maturity and love.

It is a shame that we shout so loudly about loving Jesus and following him but then lose the whole point of his message. Now that we are redeemed we have to become less and Jesus more. Do you understand what that means? It means that life is less and less about me and more and more about other people. Unfortunately most of the time when people accept Jesus nothing changes; we are still putting all our energy into things that benefit us and forget about other people. It is about my rights, my freedoms, my comfort, my possessions, my retirement, my security, my feelings, my desires, my dreams. Yet we still claim to be a follower of Jesus. Believer maybe, but it costs to be a follower. I am not sure that many of us even understand the cost to be willing to offer it up. We worship without sacrifice and we serve in the same manner.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

Are you looking for a real definition of love? There you go: "not seeking our own good but the good of many".  Try living today with that as your motto and see what happens. I don't mean what happens with the people around you but what happens to your heart and perspective. See what is the true cost of following Jesus. See how much strength you need from the Spirit of God to do it. Guaranteed you will taste what sacrificial love is, the love of Jesus for us, the love that took him to the cross, the love that he said we must have for each other. Stop being governed by man's traditions and start living freely in the governance of God's love. You will know you are getting close when you start living the value of restricting your freedoms for others.


Jason said...

Certain things like wearing jewellery or watching a movie does not mean that we don't love God. Loving Him consists of more than those mere things. If we don't know the true definition of real love then we won't be able to love.

Brandon said...

We should focus on other people. It is always better to not be selfish and to think of others before yourself. If you start treating others better than yourself the reward will pay off.