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Archive for June 29th, 2013

A More Excellent Way (Part 1)

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Greetings again everyone!! Yes, I am back on that seemingly inescapable subject of love and how it is supposed to impact the life of the christian. Now, never should we focus on one attribute of God, especially love, to the detriment of God’s other attributes, i.e. justice, truth, etc. but realize that all of God’s attributes work in tandem, as they should as well in the life of the believer. Having said all of that, there is something about love which even unbelievers recognize as being fundamental to the concept of God and the life of the christian, however misconstrued their definition of love is. Love is the core fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer from which all other fruit should flow in a believer’s heart (Galatians 5:22-23) and it is also at the center of Christ’s purpose to redeem mankind (John 3:16). So if any other subject must be revisited time and time and time and time… again in our lives then it is certainly love.

Moment of transparency: Some of you may know that I have been on a fast of sorts (which is now coming to a close) and some of you may also know that I have recently gotten out of a courtship. Although, I will not reveal the specific details of such, I would like to mention that during this time God has been specifically dealing with me concerning walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and specifically loving in the Spirit (that is loving as Christ loves). God has convicted me of how far short I fall of truly loving as He does. He has shown me how much I have relied on my own strength and will to love others rather than truly loving supernaturally as Christ. When we love others out of ourselves then our love can only go but so far before we feel drained and have nothing left to give when we don’t feel the same reciprocal love. But to truly love in the Spirit means loving outside of yourself, it means drawing upon God’s love to empower you to love others even when you do not feel the same in return (1 John 4:19, John 15:9-10, John 13:34). Christ speaks about how easy it is to love those who love us in return (Matthew 5:46) but to truly love as Christ means to love those who put themselves against us or hurt us in some way… which at times can even be (or at least seem) like those who are closest to us. This is not an easy thing to do… in fact I would say that it is truly an “unnatural” thing for us to do considering our self-centered nature but rather we can only truly accomplish this authentic love through reliance on the Holy Spirit.

The power of Christ’s love on display is truly amazing and has the power to melt hearts. Some of you may know about the condition of my roommate and his health struggles to the point of near death (if you don’t already know then I am not at liberty to share the specifics. While visiting him this past week in the hospital, although I was grieving his condition, I was however encouraged by what God was doing in the midst of the situation. I saw the lives of those who were hardened to the gospel of Christ being softened as they witnessed the love of Christ that the brethren had for my roommate as well as his love for the brethren. This type of love is not seen in the world therefore it confounds and confuses others… but it also intrigues them. Deep down this is the type of love I believe everyone desires to experience regardless of their condition before God.

This type of love must start with us as believers first. Although we are called to love all people there is however supposed to be something special about the love that we as brethren in Christ have for one another that should make the world envious. This is why stuck in the midst of chapters 12 and 14 of 1 Corinthians is chapter 13… the famous “love chapter”. In the midst of Paul speaking about unity in the Body and the witness and edification of the Body through spiritual gifts is the concept of love… for without love all of our spiritual gifting is rendered useless and the Body becomes disjointed. As Paul admonishes believers to desire spiritual gifts, he says that he will show them a “more excellent way”. “More excellent” carries the connotation of having more value and “way” here speaks of a mode or means to something. Basically love is the means to add more value to everything that we do as believers. Everything that we do for God and others should be funneled through this love. We are to tap into this ultimate display of love that Christ has for us in our daily walks. So how exactly does this look and how do we accomplish that? Stay tuned for my following posts on this subject as we explore 1 Corinthians 13 and look at how Christ perfectly fulfilled this love and how He has empowered us to do the same.

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