Friday, February 6, 2015

what does love got to do with it

There is a song somewhere that asks, "What does love got to do with it?"  I don't know any of the other lyrics of it, but it does ask a great question.

I was really thinking about I Corinthians chapter 13 this week.  It starts out saying Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.   I know this chapter is known as the love chapter, but I have not paid a whole lot of attention to these first few verses.  How many christians seek after gifts, tongues, prophecy, faith, knowledge, etc but yet fail in love?  How many times have I failed to love and understand love?  I do want to see miracles happen.  I do want more faith. I do want those gifts he has for me.  BUT, have I spent more time on seeking these things rather than seeking after obedience to a command that is the reasonable service of a follower of God?  Going to the actual commandment of Jesus, when he was asked what the greatest commandment was, he answered,"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22)

These commandment speak of nothing but love.  We are to love God and love others. He expects us to love one another.  In John 13:35 it says By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  I think God is telling us that everything we do, how we treat one another, how we act, how we live is to be completely grounded in love.  If we are to really live for him, we will do it because of love.  We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).  If we want the world to know we are His disciples, we have to show them by loving one another. That is the true witness of knowing Christ.  That is how God says people will know we are his disciples: loving one another.  Christians that are not loving one another are not showing they are Christ's disciples.  They are not obeying the command of God. How many times have churches or groups of christians become hateful, harmful, backbiters, gossipers, had splits over disagreements, talked bad about others, looked down on others, etc, etc, etc.  I know we are human, but God expects better of his church.  He expects us to love others because he first loved us.  

I think about my own children.  I want them to love each other, treat other well, be kind to each other, and genuinely care for one another.  I want this because I love them. I want them to continue in that love. How much more does God want that for his body, his children, his people?  

Have we failed the world, by giving them a distorted, wrong view of love?  I really hope not.  I have been praying for more of God in my life, for him to use me, to operate in me, for his will.   I realize as of now, none of that is even important if I am not meeting the greatest commandment of all: loving God and loving others.  Everything else is found in these.  If I am really loving God and loving others, I will be in His will.  I will be allowing him to operate through me. I will be finding more of Him every time I demonstrate love to him and others.  I will be finding out He is doing more through me than I ever imagined. 

So how do we love?
I think we complicate love sometimes with our own ideas, experiences, and fears.  He just wants us to look at that person next to us and extend love by treating them well, meeting a need, listening, caring about what they care about. It is a one on one thing.  I cannot and will never be capable of doing something so grand as changing the whole world.  I cannot change the whole world with one grand act.  I can, however, change a moment in time, for a co-worker, for a friend or family member.  I can smile and listen to that little lady at the register in the store.  I can carry someone's groceries.  I can bring food to a neighbor. I can share a candy bar with a little child.  I can be that one who prays with you when you need it.  We can rejoice with one another. I can forgive and listen.  I can agree to disagree. 
There are so many little acts that speak love to others. I can really improve in this area.  I can love others better. I can notice their hurts and pray. I can pay attention to others needs. I can put away my selfishness and pride. I can extend a hand of friendship.  I can love.  I can, with the grace of God. I can, with the love of God. 

Read I Corinthians 13 for yourself.  Imagine how we could love others.  Imagine how each and everyday, we could be that conduit of God's love to each and every person with which we come in contact.  Imagine, then go make it real. Seek to love first, the rest will come with it. It is most important thing we can do.

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