Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Word for the Bride: God's Love vs. the world's love

To the Church, the Body, the Bride of Christ:

Last week I visited my parent's small group. One of the members, a lady fittingly nicknamed "Rabbi", spoke something that has not since left my mind. I will paraphrase and add in my own thoughts on here, but it's the same idea:

The modern church has started to promote love as being synonymous with toleration, specifically of sin. We are so set on putting the "What" into action that we forget about proclaiming the "Why".
Are we scared of people thinking we are forcing God into their lives? Because they can't say we are if it is in the form of personal testimony: "I am choosing to love you regardless BECAUSE of what JESUS did for ME." Loving people not by only being kind to them, but loving them BY loving Him.

Justification from Paul the apostle... 
"So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth IN LOVE, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up IN LOVE." (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Notice the words like "builds" and "grow". Both having to do with getting bigger and expanding. As in, the Body of Christ. Us. And what better way to grow the Kingdom than share stories of His love shown in our own lives also? (And they have conquered satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony... Revelation 12:11a)

Think of Jesus when the people tried to keep Him from leaving them. He said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for THIS PURPOSE." (Luke 4:42-43)

Oh, dear Church, are we not to be like Him?

Or what about this:
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4)

Or us being SENT by God to go and make disciples? (Matthew 28:19-20)

Church, let's stop the "Do what makes you happy". Go deeper than surface-level. People could mistake our intentions of loving the sinner/hating the sin for encouragement to keep on keepin' on. The Jesus-kind-of-Love is different than society's view of love. So, if we are not secure in what His word says Real Love is, we could be unintentionally loving people straight to hell.

It sounded pretty intense to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is just crazy-sounding enough to be true.

That is why, when I was asked the question, "If you could say one thing to The Church, what would it be?"

...my answer is this: Please Church, let's Love. Like, Real Love.

I was hesitant at first, thinking it might be too cliché of a response. I prayed to God over it, asking Him to give me the right words to say. He told me that for His Love to be cliché is not possible. Because True Love can never be and will never be. He is too unique and mighty for such a commonplace reputation. 

Love is important. It's a pillar of all things good. God is the very essence of it (1 John 4:16).

Love is trusting in the faithfulness of Him.
Love is being brave.
Love is taking action for justice.
Love is being kind.
Love is being intentional and purposeful.
Love is desiring wisdom to make the right decisions.
Love is how we grow.
Love is resisting temptation.
Love is choosing.
Love moves mountains.

I could go on, but I'll say only one more.
Love is preaching the Gospel.

So, Church, next time we are being driven by a love, let's use God-given discernment to make sure it's the one that is founded by Him. 

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