WHEN YOU THINK OF LOVE

WHEN YOU THINK OF LOVE

This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Jesus Christ

When you think of love, what are some of the first things that come to our minds? Maybe it is our spouse, our kids, our family, our lifestyle perhaps. Maybe it is a certain food, or a vacation memory or certain event. These are all well and good when kept in their proper perspectives, unfortunately most don’t and this is what makes up their perception of love.

1 John 2:15-16 – Gives us this very stern exhortation: 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. 16 For all that is in the world the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.

So why this warning and why is it so dangerous? Well, we must look back to the Garden of Eden (there is so much to learn from Genesis 3) where the fall took place.

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Do you see the deep similarities compared to 1 John 2:16? Eve falling for Satan’s lure of slick rewording of God’s command not to eat… You will not surely die (exactly the same words but in a different order!)  then to set the hook of sin, Satan says “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” Let’s be honest with ourselves and especially with God. How many times have we wanted things our way and did not like His ways? So Eve sees, and it turns into delighting desires, and ends with her pride that she is not going to have God telling her what to do! Yeah, us either!

But wait, I thought this was about love? Oh, it is alright!

So after all of this in the garden, what does God do? He curses everybody! Satan goes on his belly and eats dust all the days of his life, eve pains in giving child birth, Adam having to work for their food and provide for their families. But God also showed great mercy and the type and shadow of His Son, Jesus Christ was also their in the garden, when God slew the animal and made skins for Adam and Eve to cover their shame. So it is to this day, that Christs’ blood is still the only and perfect atonement to cover all of our sins who have been given grace and mercy to believe in Christ and why He came.

Now look John 15:13-14 – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. What is it that He commands those who He has saved? Well, we again need to go back to the Old Testament for some background.

Leviticus 19:17-18 – You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

Deuteronomy 10:12 – And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

These two laws sum up the 10 Commandments, the first 4 Commandments belong to the worship of God alone, and the other 6 commandments are how to properly live in this world loving others and obeying God. However, we do not keep these commandments for ANY reason to earn or keep our Salvation, rather we use them as a mirror or God’s law and expectation on how to live for Him and bring Him glory. 

However, we fail so much and so often because we live more of our lives in the world and its flesh than we do of faith in God, trusting His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the narrow ways of this treacherous sinful world. That is why many times you see in John’s epistles the word “abide”, which means to accept or act in accordance with. 

We all need to properly use all that God has blessed us with accordingly in that He always has first place in our lives, but He also gave in abundance so that we may also love others, but do we? Do we truly love God and truly loves others, especially Christians as we are commanded, not suggested, COMMANDED to do? May this give much to think about, pray about, repent of, and seek to be more like Christ.

Be sure to come back tomorrow as we continue more deeply into loving our neighbors as ourselves.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

HUMILITY AND TEACHABLE MINDS

HUMILITY AND TEACHABLE MINDS

We must yield ourselves to the word of God,
with humble and teachable minds

Matthew Henry

These past few days we have talked about hearing and obedience and how my humans, er, I mean owners, have been working with me to become obedient to their requests of living in their home and being a profitable family member. Unlike people, I am not gifted with the level of knowledge and intellect that people are, however, I too am trainable.

When we think about obedience, being trained, being disciplined, what are some of the first things that come to mind?

Well, for some of us disciple may have a negative connotation as to disciplined may have meant spanking, being put in time out, or something to that extent. But if discipline has had a positive influence on our lives, it has brought us strength and power in a certain area of our lives. Maybe we played and instrument, and by hours of practice (discipline) we grew into a proficient musician that may have gone on to become a professional musician. Or maybe we spend a lot of time in the gym, training (discipline) for a sport and went on to be a professional athlete. The point is understanding that discipline can and should be seen as both a positive and a negative in our lives.

There are quite a few of us who have either read or read the famous proverb in Proverbs 22:6 – Train (that is discipline) up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

But what about some of the ones that sound more negative (by our standards) and yet are meant for our good and a positive outcome of correction from our sins

Deuteronomy 8:4-6 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.

Even worse, later in this very same book in chapter 21 verses 20-21 it says about the rebellious son (gender neutral) “20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”

Can you imagine if this was still practiced at churches in America today hoe many folks probably would not go?

But, in love, we are always to be corrected of our sinful ways, that is the whole point of properly disciplining or being disciplined. Why?

Psalm 58:3 sums it up quickly “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” Like it or not, by default we are ALL born into sins and a sinful world because of the fall in the Garden of Eden.

Look at what Proverbs 13:24 says “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

Disciple (although not pleasant at times) is absolutely necessary to a Godly living, God honoring, Holy Spirit filled life, and there is no way that we can do it ourselves. We must humbly submit ourselves to God, crying out to Him to have mercy on us and not discipline us with His wrath, but with the correcting rod of His Word, and the only way to receive that, is by daily spending time with God in His Word and by prayer.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do you want the righteousness of God? Do you want to honor God? Do you want a life to the fullest they way He intended it to be? Then we are going to have to learn humbly and through the discipline from our sins, that His grace would shine upon us, and in turn give Him all the praise, honor, and glory, due Him.

#ToGodBeTheGlory