There have been many discussions about love. I say God is love and someone wants to make sure that I know that God is just, righteous, and holy.
Scott Daniels, First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, recently preached a sermon Fear of the Lord. The link is as close as I can get to its location.
This sermon sparked some conversations about God and God’s love.
In this blog post I give a quick draft of why I believe love is so important and I discuss why I think the word ‘love’ is considered cheap in today’s culture.
Here is a simple (not exhaustive) reason for my beliefs:
Leviticus 19:2 says, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: `Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.
Matthew 22. 37-40 Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Jesus said, in John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
1 john 5.3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
1 John 4.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Ephesians 4.15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
We are to be holy as God is holy. What does that look like? How does one describe holiness? Love is what holiness looks like in action.
Love is the hook that all of the Law and the Prophets hang on and Love fulfills the law. We are identified as disciples of Jesus Christ when we love one another. We love Jesus when we obey his commands and they are not burdensome.
When we love one another, God lives in us (a Holy God) and this makes God visible to the world around us.
If we represent a Holy God, it is through our love for each other and our neighbor (even our enemies). The problem is not with the word love as much as it is with how we have decided to live that love out in the world.
We are to speak the truth in our love. Now, this is just my take on this, but what if speaking the truth in love means that the way we live our lives speaks the truth of what we believe?
We cheapen…let me strike that. I will not use ‘we’ but ‘me’ and/or ‘I’.
- I cheapen the word love when I choose to love the lovable and rationalize my dislike, even hatred, for those that are unlovable.
- I cheapen the word love when i choose to give lip service to the commands of Christ and simply not associate with the folks in my church that get under my skin.
- I cheapen the word love when I decide to live my life in any way that is contrary to the life Jesus lived.
- I cheapen the word love when I resist the Holy Spirit’s instructions to repent, to ask for forgiveness, or fail to forgive those who have offended me.
- I cheapen the word love and any redefinition, reclaiming, or readjustment because without changing my life it will still be the same thing: a clanging symbol or resounding Gong.
- I have made Christianity “moralistic therapeutic deism” because I have asked God to bless my choices, likes, dislikes, and preferences on how I live my life.
- I have made Christianity “moralistic therapeutic deism” because I have failed to surrender my life for his. I have desired to maintain my comfort, my will, my life while reaping the benefits of salvation and God’s grace.
- I have made Christianity “moralistic therapeutic deism” because I have seen where love leads and have balked at it requirements.
The problem is not with the word love, but with me.