Monday, April 16, 2012

Focused Love

The sermon yesterday morning talked about the relationship between love and obedience--specifically, how love for God always results in obedience to Him. The moment we separate love and obedience, we lose the foundation for our obedience. Once we are just doing the "right thing" because it has been our pattern, it is good that we have established patterns of obedience, but we are in a very vulnerable place. It is just a matter of time before the tempter makes his move in showing us how much more fun sin would be than obedience. We have lost our foundation for obedience and we will also lose the battle of the mind if we don't turn back to the love of God as our goal in obeying Christ. Take a look at 1 John 5:1-3.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
Pastor Tim really did a good job of bringing this passage down to a practical level. Honestly, I struggled with applying this even as I was writing this blog post. I was asked to do something very reasonable and I didn't feel like doing it. Sadly, those thoughts of, "Haven't I done enough today?", or "Can't someone else do it?"... etc. flood my mind far too often. I'm thankful for the Lord's conviction in this area. Mom is a child of God and therefore, how can I do anything but love her? Okay, I have another huge reason to love her... and I do love her very very much for being my mom! But, I must not lose sight of the fact that she is also a child of God and if I love God, I truly can't even consider not loving her.

I have several married friends... many of which are starting to have kids... and I almost feel like an adopted uncle of sorts. I love those kids so much, even if I hardly know them... I know their parents and love their parents, so I must love their children! It's the natural thing to do. It's amazing how many faults we can overlook when we have set our mind to love someone. That little one spits up all over you... or dumps a whole bucket of toys all over the floor that were just picked up, but you just have to love them anyway! What if we really applied this Biblical truth with our brothers and sisters in Christ? What if we "did not take into account a wrong suffered"? What if we were so focused on loving God that we loved His children unconditionally? How would that transform our relationships within the family... physical brothers and sisters that are His children... parents... spouses... etc.? They are all fellow heirs of God and Christ! How would this transform our churches? How would this transform our attitude about people in our church... even those that intentionally do things to make us uncomfortable?

I am challenged and convicted by the truths of 1 John 5. May God give each of us His grace and help to be so focused on loving Him that disobedience isn't even a consideration and that we love His people as He would have us love them. Love is an action! We must not let it stop with how we "think or feel" about God's children... though that may be a great start!

My prayer for you and for myself is from 2 Thessalonians 3:5.
May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.