Yeah…..About This Whole “Love” Thing…

Love is the greatest gift that Golove expect gives!

For God SO LOVED………………….He gave.  He gave completely out of Himself.  He gave His only begotten Son.  What a sacrifice.

In recent years, there has been a spectacular interest and attention given to the “Love of God” and its import in the Gospel message.  There have been extreme viewpoints presented regarding God’s Love; it’s expression, it’s reach and it’s eternal ramifications.

Some of the opposing sides have actually battled in the blog-o-sphere, twitter and other social media realms to defend their positions and practice the, well, total opposite of Love.  Interesting………………waging a war about opposing perspectives of Love.

Good job, christians!

Father has been dealing with me recently about Love being His Nature, how He desires to be presented/perceived and how we believers make a miserable mess of things concerning Love.

In First Corinthians 13, we are given an incredibly astute and lovely description of Love. Our brother Paul assists us in learning about what  Love IS by presenting examples of what Love IS and IS NOT.

For example, Love is “patient” and  “is not self-seeking”.

In my meditation, the phrase…”not self-seeking” continued to circulate for quite a while.

The Greek terminology used in this passage literally means “does not seek the things of itself.”

In the context in which it is used here, Paul expresses to the Corinthian believers, who were absorbed with “self”, that the antithesis of Love is seeking to gratify self.

A quick read through the preceding chapters of First Corinthians is all it takes to see how SELF-centered the believers were in Corinth.  They were divided over particular leaders that appealed to their personal liking.  They sought worldly, legal practices to address selfish matters against other believers.  Certain believers could not be patient and await others in order to partake of the Lord’s fellowship meal. The list continues.

The intent of Paul’s teaching to the fleshly, selfish, Corinthian believer was to stop the selfish focus, cease in using the Lord’s Way to gratify the carnality of the flesh and, in according to the New Nature (Love) that they had received, prefer and serve one another.

As I mulled over these thoughts, the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me exactly how much “self” is involved in what I consider to be Loving people.  I quickly began to see that I wasn’t far removed from my Corinthian brothers/sisters in mixing Father’s Love with my old, unregenerate SELF.

Obviously, there are many facets of my walk in which this topic might be examined.  But the major one that the Spirit touched was in discipleship.

A nasty word popped up as I considered my selfishness lurking underneath the idea of Love, discipling others and other religious terms we banter about.

That word……….expectation!

In Father’s dealing with me and in the Spirit’s Light, I realized that I carried expectation towards those that Father had positioned me to simply Love, serve and encourage in knowing Him.

Simply, my flesh was involved in a process that it has no business being involved in.  The thought process goes something like this……………..

“If I love (brother/sister) and serve them, then they should………..(fill in the blank).

  • Become what I think they should be.
  • Stop doing this/that.
  • Start doing this/that.
  • Join my church organization.
  • Believe exactly like me.
  • Give me money/support my ministry.
  • Respect/honor me in my position/function.

And, the list goes on and on.

I’ve been around this thing called, “church/christianity” for my entire life in various forms.  As I reviewed my experiences, one consistent practice I recognized through them all was the burden of expectation placed upon believers and non-believers.

The only time we “Love” with expectation of return from the one whom we are loving is when SELF is right in the big, fat center of things!  It isn’t Father’s Love that we are expressing.  We are actually tainting the representation of Father’s Love and we should stop!

John 3:16, the supposed cornerstone of the Western Gospel, expresses perfectly what Father’s Love accomplishes.

Father SO LOVED that He GAVE ALL so that whosoever believes should HAVE/OBTAIN/POSSESS everlasting life….

He expended ALL and freely gave with no expectation and/or guarantee of a return.  All benefits and blessings extend to the one BEING Loved; not the one doing the Loving.

The Book of Colossians tells us that there was an entire list of expectations that God thought we should have to live up to.  Yet, when He gave us the fullness of His expression of His Nature, not only did He nail His Only Begotten Son to the Cross, He also nailed that entire list of expectation to the Cross.  Through the power of an accurate expression of His Love, the entire inventory of expectations Father had for us to answer to was canceled through the sacrifice of Christ.

Another John 3:16 helps further bring the point home.  This time, in First John 3:16, scripture instructs us….

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

So, I am on a quest to Love with no expectation of return.  My wife.  (oh, wow!)  My brothers/sisters.  Non-believers.  All those that Father positions me to Love.

I have freely received the Love of My Father and I am commanded to freely give. I have experienced glimpses of such Love in the past………both in Loving others and in being Loved by others.  My desire is continually embrace the Cross and nail to the cross any expectations that I would attempt place upon others, thereby, rendering an accurate expression of Father’s Love.

Father, teach me how to Love!

Keep your peace!

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Yeah…..About This Whole “Love” Thing…

  1. Mega Amen . . . love without a “hook” in it, that is a demand for return, something in exchange, is very rare. Somewhat can’t blame folks for being poorly taught and poorly discipled. You might find the Church Refugee Sanity Guide Session 4 on my blog of interest as toward the end of the session, I talk about this very thing. In Greek, eros did not mean sexual love as it does for us. That was included in term, but erotic love was ANY kind of love which at is essence, has self benefit as its end. The symbol the Greeks used for eros was a snake swallowing its tail. I am convinced that in a typical church we are full of erotic love and know very little of agape, love that has no expectation or demand of anything in return as you said. We are so conditioned to view everything, even salvation and the kingdom through the lens of an economy of exchange . . . we are so deeply imprinted with it that we do not even realize that filter is working in us. Only the cross, applied and appropriated will really deliver any of us from it. The good news is, once it is working in us even a little bit, it is such a freeing way to live. The world, others, anyone owes me nothing. I am free to love . . . without a hook in it.

  2. The beloved John makes this point, over and over and over again in 1 John chapters 3 and 4.
    Seems sort of important!

  3. You have just given a wonderful explanation of what grace looks like it. All humankind has intrinsic value, deserving our love without expectation, because Father God created us. To do otherwise is to challenge Father’s judgment, as if he has made a mistake. As you so aptly pointed out, expectations were dealt with at the Cross. You are so right: it would serve us well to make sure we nail our expectations to the cross. Grace = loving without expectation. This brings glory to Father and rest to our souls.

  4. My wife has been sharing some productivity podcasts with me lately, and the image of a to-do list just popped into my head. There is this big bolded goal right at the top “Love God, love others”, but that seems too big, so we work on checking off some of the little periphery ones first, assuring ourselves that we will get around to that big goal.

    Church attendance – Check
    Bible reading plan – Check (and another checklist)
    Tithe – Check

    Until eventually we convince ourselves that all of those little individual actions are confused for the big goal. Stretch that list out as far as you want, but if you don’t address that first big box… “clanging cymbal”.

    I’m not opposed to a drum kit in our worship of God, but sometimes it seems like all I can hear is that clanging symbol.

    I haven’t checked this blog out in a while, but was glad to come across this, thanks.

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