Thursday, November 27, 2014

Love, Love, Love!

I bid you greetings on this most beautiful of days!

"Love, Love, Love, all you need is Love!"

Well yes, well no!

Definitions. Two Tensions. Context.

No matter the situation, circumstance, belief, philosophy, or worldview, there are definitions, tensions, and contexts, which need to be understood and applied in order to operate within correct Godly parameters.

So if the subject is "Love," what about something as simple as definition?  What's my definition of love, and how does it fit within my life, belief, experience and discussion?

Then we must determine if there are any tensions pulling against my beliefs.

And finally, what then is the context of my worldview regarding love?  Is it correct?  What's my source of truth?

Mark Drake in his remarkable book, "God's Brilliant Plan" addresses Getting Definitions Clear.

"One of the most basic rules in competitive debating is about what happens before the debate begins.  The competitors get together and agree on the definition of terms that will be used in the course of the debate.  Without this agreement on definition there can be no substantive discussion, no understanding and no meaningful dialogue.

If I define something differently than God defines it, I cannot possibly understand what He is trying to communicate to me.  If He cannot communicate clearly to me, I cannot possibly experience what He wants me to experience.  If He says one thing, and I think He means something completely different, we cannot possibly have a good relationship; we cannot communicate."

This simple but most important principle is at the foundation of most misunderstandings.

Which brings us to tensions.  One tension in the Bible says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways" (Isaiah 55:8).  The other tension pulling against this truth says, "You have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true -  it is not a lie.  So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ" (1 John 2:27 NLT).

So on one hand we are taught we do not think and thereby understand things the way God does.  Yet if we are a child of God (in the sense we've given our life to Him through the experience of salvation), we have the Holy Spirit in us teaching us truth.

And who is the Holy Spirit?  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father from eternity, and the Spirit of Jesus from eternity.   He is not an emotion or enthusiasm, but a Person.   All that the Father is the Spirit is.  All that Son is the Spirit is.  And He, God, the Holy Spirit is teaching us truth.

To have a true understanding of Godly Love, we must go beyond our own understanding, and be willing to set our preconceived ideas about love aside and listen to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Otherwise as Mark Drake stated, "If He says one thing, and I think He means something completely different, we cannot possibly have a good relationship; we cannot communicate."

To experience and communicate Love as God intended, we must come into the presence of God to receive truth.  For in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, it is possible to put everything in its proper perspective.

When you discover how much you truly love someone you in a sense have found God. God is love! If we love one another, then God dwells within us.  You cannot have one without the other.  And when we know love we have also found the Kingdom that so many who do not understand this simple secret, will never find.  The Kingdom of God is not on a cloud.  It is within us through the "spark of eternity" God has placed within all mankind which is what draws us to Him.

This love though needs a context, and the context is that of Jesus Christ.  Otherwise, without the correct context, the first thing you'll hear is a phrase something like, "as long as you love, and have love, that's all that matters."  It sounds nice, even godly, but in fact it is only a first step, and in the wrong worldly context it is a lie and twisting of the truth from satan.

It is from this "lie" and perversion of Godly love that we experience things like: sexual promiscuity, adultery, sexual abuse, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, even bestiality.  Although some in today's society would claim these are but "variations of love" (After all, "all you need is love"), when you set these world views and lifestyles up against Biblical truth, there is direct opposition.   A closer look shows these "variations of love" in fact are not patient or kind, they envy and boast, they are arrogant and rude.  They insist on their own way, and they're irritable and disrespectful!  (See 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

So what's a Christian to do?  What shall we then do when confronted with these world views, lifestyles, and philosophies?

Og Mandino writes, "What we need to accept is that Jesus was murdered because He loved those who would kill him and they hated Him because He loved them.  They could not comprehend His love, for it flew against all reason in a world that demands payment for all goods and services, and punishment for all crimes, leaving no room for love, mercy, or compassion.  Sooner or later all mankind will realize that the greatest cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows and crimes of humanity rests solely in acts of love [rooted in the context of Jesus Christ].  This love is the greatest gift from God.  Love [rooted in Christ Jesus] is the divine Spark that everywhere produces and restores life.  To each and every one of us, the love of Christ Jesus acting, moving through us gives us the power to work miracles with our own lives and those we touch."

As Christians, where we fall short is in the full comprehension of His love.  For when we condemn to hell all those who operate within the parameters of the lie, the perversion of Godly love, are we not "demanding payment for all goods and services, and punishment for all crimes, leaving no room for love, mercy, or compassion?"  Isn't that judgment better left to God?  I am not saying, "don't tell them the truth!"  rather, "tell them the truth and a better way!"

As Christians we are to grow and mature through the work of the Holy Spirit in us to a point where we too would love those who would hate us, even kill us because we love them.  We are called, each one of us to love as Christ loves, so the "divine Spark that everywhere produces and restores life" is evident in our daily lives.

Godly Love is defined, it has at minimum two tensions, and has a correct context.  We must therefore know the true definition of Godly Love, determine which tension we're confronted with, and make certain our love is set in the correct context.

In short, any "love" outside the parameters of Christ Jesus is no love at all!

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