Friday, June 28, 2019

Love Is

“Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4) is part of a teaching from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, the most sensuous one. He is not talking of Eros love, but instead brotherly and agape love.  Anyone who has read the Bible or been at a wedding will probably have heard these words about love. He is talking about all of our lives and attitudes. He is talking about how we see and approach things and other people. Most of us are coming from our own perspectives or selfishness. This is just the way we are, this side of heaven. As Paul tells us, we see through the glass darkly. It today’s jargon, we see through rose-colored glasses. What are those tinted glasses? They are our worldview and slant on everything. He is telling us that without love you gain and you are nothing. That’s pretty damning. You are nothing. I believe that God is also telling us more about the “most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Paul wants us to know that our lives are about our attitude and where we put our trust. More importantly, what is at your center?  I hope it is your heart. This is where all your emotions and attributes and gifts and centered and are emitted for the world to experience. Paul goes on in this well-known passage to tell us that love is not envious or boasting, rude or self-seeking, easily angered or keeping a scorecard. Love delights in the truth. Where does truth come from? It comes from God the Maker of heaven and earth. It does not come from us. You see,

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way love is made complete…perfect love castes out fear…We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:17,18). John the Apostle that Jesus loved is telling all of us that God first loved us. It is only because of His love for us that we can love. And this love requires us to love Him. Then all our fears are caste away. You see we, as humans are full of fear. That’s why fear and fear not appears some 365 times in the New Testament, because we fear. This is not an essay about all of our fears of life, people, bankruptcy, high places or whatever. It is a paper on love that can only be gained through God in His Son, Jesus Christ. He gave His life for us so that we who believe may be forgiven and live in fearless love. Remember, without His love in us we are nothing.  The Apostle John said it very clearly in a metaphor.

“’I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing”  (John 15:5). This long passage of the Father or Gardener or vine and us who are the branches admonishes us to remain in Him. This means to abide, live, dwell, and stay plugged into the vine or life or God. There is no other life-giving source. God tells us that He has loved us, so we must remain in Him to live and have love. He also says that if we do not, we are like a dead branch that gets thrown away and burned in the fire. This is a story in metaphor of life and death in the Vine. It is also an eternal story of eternal life and living or dying spiritually.  If we are spiritually alive we live in Christ and the light of God in heaven. If we do not we burn in hell outside of the presence of God forever. The choice is ours. Scripture says in 2 Peter 3:9 that The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. God is life giving and wants all to realize that we cannot live or love without Him. He wants us to confess this and repent or turnaround and attach to the vine of life. This means that we live for God and not ourselves. This means that our new center is God or love. Remember that apart from God we are and can do nothing.

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