Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love, love, love

Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

s Christians, we tend to go through the motions and actions of love, but are we really loving? When I think of loving my neighbor I usually put people I like in the neighbor's role. Or, I'll think that by extending a hand in fellowship that this somehow means I'm showing love. Fellowship is not love though. Fellowship is just being friendly. Love means a whole lot more. Much more than I can even fathom. Consider these verses:

1John 4:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

o, God is love. The AWANA verse memorization of 1John 4:10 is... "God loved us and sent his Son." Now God's ways are so much higher than ours. God has the ultimate perfect love. God's love for us was sacrificial. Our love for others must fit within time constraints. God's love paid the ultimate price. Our love for others must come out of our discretionary spending and not cost much. I realize it's an unobtainable goal while on the Earth to love as God does, because we're sin. But we must try.

We can't fake love to fool God. It may fool man, but the first verse I posted pretty much lines it out. Matthew 5 really separates the wheat from the chaff. We have to be careful that when we are setting up ministries that we are setting them up to LOVE people and not just help. Verse 47 really drives the dagger to the heart when you consider.

The government can set up a 100 bed maternity home bigger and better than anything we could ever imagine. The government can set up a feed the homeless ministry that provides meals for 100,000 people. The government can build people homes AND pay their mortgages. The government can have a program that gets people off alcohol and drugs. The government can set up a whole hospital that takes people in and even gives them surgery for free.

Everything the Church can do, the government can do bigger. They are already doing it! The difference is love. We must make sure as Christians that we do everything with love in our hearts. We have a 6 bed maternity home. So in order to be better than the gov we have to love the girls there. We have to sit with them and give them encouragement and love them even when we don't have the time. We have to be an example of the love that Jesus describes here. That means that even after they have their baby we can't just dump them because they are out of the house. We have to continue to love them and nurture them as Christians. That means when feeding the homeless we have to love them enough to care. We don't need to just give them food for their stomach. We need to give them education and if need be rides or even clothes. Most of all we need to love them enough to sacrifice what we have for their betterment. We must love the people we're serving. Bottom line. These aren't even our enemies either. God's not impressed that we serve, He's impressed that we love.

Again, everything we do as Christians and as a church needs to be done in love. We must get out of the turf wars and protecting ours and get out and sacrifice what we have to show love to others. It's not something I'm used to, but something commanded and therefore we must constantly work on it. Try not to go through the motions or fake caring for others. Don't just work on the superficial scratch, but work on the destroyed heart. You'll never see the heart if you don't first exhibit real love. After all, God sees my heart and my devotion because he showed me unconditional love and because of that I trust him with all I have. It's past time to start actually showing love myself.

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