Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Talk Tuesday-Examine Your Love

How should we love? What should our love look like in relation to GOD, others and ourselves? There are so many different ways to answer this question. I have heard it said that you must first love yourself before you can love others, love is about treating people the way you want to be treated, and that it should not judge but be all inclusive. All of these statements contain a measure of truth, however when weighed against the Biblical definition of love, they fall short.

In the Bible love always begins and ends with GOD, who is love (1 John 4:8). One of the greatest statements of GOD's love is anchored in the crushing reality of John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is where I hear the car screech to a sudden halt, and the smell burning rubber and asphalt jar me out of my illusion. I was cruising along the road of life thinking, for many years, that I knew what love was. To be a well-balanced, loving person, was to abide by the world's definition of love which is sung about, written about and celebrated in popular culture.

Jesus is questioned by the religious leaders of his time about the application of the law to their daily lives. In Mark 12:28-33, he is asked by a teacher of the law about which of the commandments are most important. Jesus' answer begins and ends with the concept of LOVE.

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’No other commandment is greater than these.”
 32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

 So, I put forth the question to you. When you examine your concept of love against Biblical Scriptures, what do you think your LOVE ought to look like? Please post your comments below by clicking on the 'comments' link. We would LOVE to hear from you!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Talk Tuesday-Love Does Not Encourage Sin

What is love? Popular culture tells us that love is self-seeking, it is the fulfillment of physical desire, it meets our needs, it has no parameters of definition, it is ours for the taking and it begins with us. Love also involves total acceptance without differentiation between what is right and what is wrong. What does the Bible tell us about love?

"7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:7-10

"12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." John 15:12-13

"23 Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.'" John 14:23-24

"8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

"5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 'My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.'” Hebrews 12:5-6

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 Love is sacrificial. It is determined by GOD, who is love. It begins with knowing Him, accepting His love, then continues in how we show it to others. It is not self-seeking. Its parameters are clearly defined by GOD and exemplified by Him. It rebukes, disciplining us in our rebellion. It does not lie. It forgives. It demands our total obedience to GOD.

Love hates sin but loves the sinner. This is the CROSS.