1 John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. 

Put Your Love where Your Mouth is!

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Isn’t it ironic how John 3:16, the love of God through Christ and 1 John 3:16, the love of Christ through us, coincide so closely together?  Both of these scriptures involve the giving of a sacrifice in love.  Both of these scriptures involve the laying down of a life as the ultimate expression of love. 

My conviction today is how shallow and conditional my love is.  It is not nearly so focused on others as it is on its own agenda.  That self-love wants to preserve and cater to this life rather than sacrifice and give it.  Rather we think it out loud or not, how much of our life is motivated by, “what’s in it for me?”  What is even more convicting is how we so often treat the ones that are the closest to us and that we say that we love the greatest with the most contempt, disrespect and selfishness.  Where does all of that line up with the love of God in us?  We talk about the love of Christ, we preach it to others and we go through the motions, but is that love, that agape love, alive in action in our personal day to day relationships.  

Husbands, why are we not bringing the love into the home?  Why do we not love our wives, like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it?  Why do we not love our brethren, rather than using and taking advantage of them?  Should it surprise us that the world has so much contempt for us as Christians?  A good deal of the contempt and mockery of Christianity has little to do with how much we are like Christ.  Our hypocrisy betrays us.  When Christians and churches don’t pay their bills, borrow and don’t return, and only take, but never give, what does that speak about the love of Christ in our lives?   Many of us need a reality check about what the love of Christ is, because it isn’t being seen in us.   Where has the depth of God’s agape love gone?  When that love is operating people will be drawn to Christ and they will know us by our love.  How do others perceive and know us now?  Is that self-giving, sacrificial love what we are known for?  

Our prayer should be, “God make me a giver like You are a giver.  Make me a lover like you have loved me.  Make my life a living sacrifice daily poured out to You as I serve and love others as You have served and loved me.  Help me to experience in daily deed and reality what it is to love my neighbor as myself.  Help me to put Your love where my empty hollow words have been.  Amen.”


God’s Epoxy

June 25, 2012

Colossians 3:1-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

God’s Epoxy

How should a child of God clothe themselves?  Religion would take that question and make it about the outward apparel, but God makes that question about how we should clothe our hearts.  We are exhorted to clothe ourselves with godly attributes such as compassion, which is a heart and empathy for others, how they feel, what they are going through, what their needs are.    Kindness speaks to moral goodness, integrity and gentleness.  Humility speaks to the attitude of mind that doesn’t exalt itself over another, not high minded or focused on self abilities. Gentleness is a mildness and meekness with how we interact with others. One definition I heard is that ‘meekness is strength under control’.   Patience is really the ability to walk in these other attributes.  It is the longsuffering, the constancy, the steadfastness and faithfulness to endure long without giving up or changing heart.  Let’s be honest, we can aggravate, wear and agitate one another.  If we allow it, offenses can spring up in a heartbeat.  Our garden of godly attributes can be quickly overgrown with the weeds of offense, strife and unforgiveness.
The epoxy that holds all of these godly attributes together is love; not our selfish, conditional love, but God’s AGAPE love.  Without the epoxy of God’s love the other attributes can’t stand, because it is out of that love that they operate and are maintained.  When we are exhausted and at the end of ourselves where do we go to get this love?  We have to get in His presence.  We have to soak in that nature that supercedes the limitations of our human nature. In that place we re-member ourselves with His body and remember it is not about us, it is about Christ in us.  The death that works in us works the life and love of God in others around us.  Our flesh doesn’t like it and it may well scream of injustice  and unfairness, but it is the love of Father that must come forth from the crushing of the grapes.  He is the new wine and we are the new wineskin.  God’s love is the binding ingredient that keeps the godly attributes from separating  and loosing their potency.  Abiding in the vine is where we feed from the sap of God’s love to maintain our walk of godliness.  Human efforts will fail, but His love will prevail.


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