Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Question We are All Asking: Where on Earth is the Love?

There are an abundance of messages of peace and happiness amidst the roar of hostility and discord today.

Here we are at the end of the month in which we have a day to celebrate love with chocolates and flowers and another whole day to be intentional about spending time with family. Obviously, we all know, relationships matter. Although a scroll through social media or a glance at the headlines and a skim through online conversations and a lack of meaningful connections in real life, we could quite easily come to the very opposite conclusion.

“bite and devour one another in order for our own opinion to be voiced. How often we feed the flesh rather than starve our pride and stoop to serve one another in love.

There is no shortage of chocolate and roses—of that we can be sure—and they can be a fine, albeit, small expression of your love. But, relationships don’t thrive on boxes of smooth chocolate and bouquets of red roses.

In a world shouting for peace, where on earth is the love? 

Handing out peace without the hope of God will only seduce and deceive.

We are, by nature, a people motivated by fear, hunting for own happiness, pursuing passing pleasures and driven by our flesh.

We crank up the volume of the messages that pat our egos and tell us to do whatever it is that makes us feel good, insisting that whatever feels good is the right thing.

We turn inward and excel at the study of self. Often our expressions of love are even motivated by selfish desires.

We are pretty good at giving bits of ourselves to people in our lives that we enjoy and appreciate or even pity, but how many of us will go out of our way to give of ourselves to people who betray us, snub us, or are even out to destroy us.

We decide that is a whole different kettle of fish and we convince ourselves that we shouldn’t have to go out of our way to others who are so underserving or our time, attention, resources or safety.

Peace and comfort isn’t about us all feeling good about ourselves. Real joy does not come by seeking temporary happiness and fleeting pleasure.

Jesus Christ came to give us abundant life. The life we enter when we know Christ is far more than pursuing fading pleasure, but one that is being poured out for His glory and found in enjoying Him forever.

Far worse than being broken, is becoming unbreakable. Love is willing to be broken wide-open, love is willing to risk, love is willing to prefer others and it isn’t always going to feel good, but it is always a fruit of faith, by believing in God, who is love. 

C. S. Lewis warns what it costs to pursue happiness instead of love:

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one . . . Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable . . . Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become . . . more careful of our own happiness.”
Since when has our happiness become more important than love?

Love is not being more concerned about our own feelings, rights, privileges, or safety.

In the name of peace and comfort we have determined the problems of this world are problems of pain and suffering, but the root of the problems in this world is sin and the essence of sin is preferring something more than God.

Our fundamental need is peace with God, to know God, to be known by God.

John told his readers “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God . . . God is love.” {1 John 4:7,8b}

Knowing about God is not enough. Knowing God is ultimately—and completely by God’s mercy and grace—being restored into a right relationship with God by faith.

We’ve been winding our way down this path of true love to grasp the glorious truth of the gospel:

In believing that Jesus is the Son of God who was 
sent to be the propitiation for our sins, we enter into this newness of life, and this is eternal life—to know the only true God and Jesus Christ.

We are first made new creatures and given new hearts and by God’s Spirit faith is inwrought in us.

This faith precedes love. Faith, it has been said, is a working grace.

This faith that leads to life, effectually, by the work of the Spirit, removes the greed, fear and pride in our hearts that craves our own happiness and it produces a perfect love that makes the desire of our heart the absolute delight of the Lord.

In a world that is satisfied by temporary pleasures, we need to look to Jesus who endured the cross for eternal joy. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, He is our life and the love of Christ controls us that we “no longer live for [ourselves] but for him who for [our] sake died and was raised.”

Love begins with the love of God. Love is laying yourself down and taking up your cross. 

In a world crying for peace, we need perfect love.

Perfect love casts out fear.” John Piper has said, 
perfected loveis the love of God expressing itself in our love to each other. 

Faith produces love. Paul said, “ . . . whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

A true saving faith will produce love for God and from this love will pour forth a love for others. This faith is from God and it will give you the desire, even power {Ephesians 3:16-19} to go lower, to stoop down and serve others, even the unlovable.

Faith looks to our Great Substitute as our life, our abiding hope, our unending joy and without this faith, Hebrews 11:6 says “it is impossible to please God.”

As we wend our way on the path of hesed love we will see what the Lord requires, as the prophet Micah questioned the people of Israel “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness [or hesed], and to walk humbly with your God?”

Our souls have been made to find rest in God. Our fundamental need is to be brought back to God. Our ultimate joy is to know the all-sufficiency of Christ. Our peace is Christ Jesus.

The chief end of man is not to pursue our own happiness, but “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Praise God that in Christ there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” and that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Romans 8:1,39}

Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, that he has delivered us from a life dominated by sin and set us free to love him and one another.

This is the message that graciously holds truth and love together and that results in lasting peace and eternal joy as it is anchored in the God of hope as we continue to have faith in Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...