Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Love That Tips The Scales

When I would read:

If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

I always thought about this love being our love to one another.  However, the Lord was faithful to remind me of His Greatest Commandment in relation to this scripture.  Suddenly, the verses have a completely different meaning!

Of all things that we are to do, the absolutely most important one is that we must love our God.  These verses, when interpreted as being about our relationship with our Lord, now has great relevance to today's church.

While they may not say it out loud, people today expect God to love them and reward them because of their actions.  They give and study and pray and help others, then they expect God will see these deeds and be impressed.  However, God is not impressed if these things are not the product of our love for Him.  He certainly expects us to do good deeds, for He says, “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”(Ephesians 2:10).  Note that these deeds are the specific ones that He has prepared, not just any nice-sounding action.

Yet, all of our actions have zero affect on God's love.  Right at this moment, God loves you more than you can imagine.  If you now go out and kill a dozen innocent people, He will still love you more than you can imagine.  If, instead, you go out and bring a hundred people to Christ, He will still love you more than you can imagine.  This love without conditions, is foreign to our human experience and could only come from an amazing God.

Yet, there are many people who go through the motions of Christianity, but without the love relationship with the Lord, but they all find it to be unsatisfying.  Doing life like this feels dry and empty.  Yet for many people, they are deceived into believing that this is all there is.

The essence of Christianity isn't in reading the Bible or attending church or helping others, it is in love.  The primary love must be to the Lord, then secondarily it is to others.  If you look around at other people to see how they practice their Christianity, you can't see the love they have for God, it isn't visible, but it is still the single, most-important thing that we need to be doing with our life.

It is easy to think of prayer, worship, thanksgiving and praise as Sunday morning activities, but we are called to live these in activities.  These things are to become a lifestyle.  We are called to love the Lord at all times and under all circumstances, these are our acts of love.  Walking in an ongoing stance of praise and thanksgiving, is both a product of our love and feeds our love.  Out of that flows many blessings of the Christian life.

The righteousness that will save us from the pits of hell, must be a product of a love relationship.  Our effective prayer life (James 5:16) is a product of that love relationship.  The blessings of peace, hope and strength are also products of love.  It is while we are spending time loving and being loved by God that He speaks most generously to us.

Our love for the Lord is not there because we give it lip service.  We show our love when we walk through life in full awareness of His presence with us.  Paul speaks of “a mature man with a stature measured by Christ's fullness.” (Ephesians 4:13)  That fullness is how much of Christ we allow into our lives.  It is by walking through life loving the Lord that we invite His presence to be with us.

When we love somebody, we think about them, they are never very far from our minds and hearts.  The Bible suggest that we abide in Him and then He will abide in us.  This isn't a matter of spending time together once a week, this is a matter of not allowing ourselves to be separated.

His Holy Spirit lives inside us, but when we allow ourselves to focus on the things of the world, then we push Him aside.  When we love Him, then He can grow in His influence on our lives.  As we love Him, then we grow in an awareness of the enormity of His love for us.  It is that awareness that allows Him to fill us, as Paul explains:

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

This scripture says that through knowing the reality and extent of God's love, that we will be filled.  This is amazing in its simplicity.

We can do life alone and empty or we can love Him and be loved by Him.  When the target of our love is the Lord, then this is the basic building block of what we were meant for.

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Lexington, Ky