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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Practical Love

It seems appropriate to blog on love....it's almost Valentines Day. If we're going to talk about love, we might as well go to the source of love, God Himself. I believe the Bible has a perfect definition of perfect love. This is a love that we fragile, imperfect humans only catch a glimpse of now and then. You'll find this in I Corinthians 13: 4-8.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Just as we could never keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, neither can we attain this level of 'loving' on a consistent basis. However, if we don't have a standard of perfection to which we work toward, we're left wondering. Now we know. I love what St. Augustine said about 'exhortations' from God. 'Exhortations are commands given by God, impossible for us to perform, but given so we know what to ask God for.' When I read this I Corinthian passage, I'm immediately aware that my 'loving' falls way short......and I'm not able to 'fix it' on my own. The natural result is coming to the Lord and trusting Him to work His love in me.

A few years ago I was teaching a new Bible class in my community. I arrived early to prepare the room. Soon, a very large woman came in and walked over to me. She was a very big lady and 'towered' over me'.

"Are you the teacher?' she asked. I suddenly felt a bit inadequate and timidly said "Yes".

"Well then" she said poking me with her finger, "Tell me how a person can walk in love!" She stared at me intently, waiting for an answer. I knew if I couldn't answer her question, she wouldn't come to the class. This is pretty much what I told her.....

'God is the source of all love (I John 4:7) He knew we'd be incapable of love so He poured out HIS love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). So, when we have a problem with loving someone, we go to the Lord and ask that He give us His love. And that's how we are able to walk in love!'

The woman seemed satisfied with my answer and sat down and opened her Bible. There are so many things we yearn to understand, simple things, but when we know, and can apply them to our life, we feel more confident and our faith grows.

We see the 'impossibleness' (I make up words sometime) of so many exhortations. For instance, 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself'. We have great neighbors, and we like them a lot......but love them as much as we love ourselves?? We're too selfish! When the love waivers, we can go to God and know that HE will supply all the love we need.

Have you heard this? Love isn't a feeling or emotion, it's a choice. The Holy Spirit empowers us to make the choice to love. So the practical application is that when the feeling and emotion aren't there, we 'act' loving anyway and ask God to fill us with His love. Lord, I have no love of my own, please fill me with your love......and I believe by faith that You are able!

And remember, that a sovereign God will sovereignly control our relationships. He does take people out of our life, we can trust Him.

I heard movie actor Robert Redford say this line in a movie some time ago....can't remember the name of the movie. "People who love each other don't forgive and forget. They forgive and remember and love anyway". I just love that line!

I'm blogging at our daughter and son-in-law's home in Palos Verdes today. I'm getting distracted by the sun setting over the ocean and the resulting gorgeous sunset.

May you see God's command to 'love' as an opportunity to come to Him, and trust the result!