Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Problem Is

You Think That Is Love

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:6

When someone says, "I can't live without you.  You are my everything."...

When people appear caught up in what you say, what you do, and what you are going through...

When acquaintances prefer to tell you 'smooth things' rather than hurt your feelings with the truth...

When a person gives you what you want and appears to deny you nothing...

When others pay attention to you and seem to make you the center of their world...

When folks only applaud you and never tell you that you're wrong...

You think THAT is love; but it is not.

Love is the equivalent of selflessness.  In a nutshell, that means it is not about us; not what we want, what we feel, nor what we think.  Love is not the result of how others interact with us.  It is the result of how we commit our ways to the Lord.

Since God is love, this tells us that God is the standard for determining what "love" is.  It is not based in emotions or performance; it is an act of the will. This is why Jesus could say that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).  It is even how we will be able to love our enemies (Luke 6:27).

If the presence of love was dependent upon friendly relations, good feelings, or even mutual respect, then Jesus would never have died on the cross. Yet, Christ died for us when we were all His enemies; and the motivation for that sacrifice was love.

We hated Him, but He died for us.  We spit in His face, but He gave His all for us.  We chose to fellowship with murderers and thieves over Him, but He laid down everything for us.  We betrayed Him even after pledging our loyalty to Him, but He suffered death on the cross for us.  No matter how we despised Him, He would not be moved from doing as His Father commanded.  That is love.

It "feels" good to have people all wrapped up in us and going out of their way to be sure we are okay.  It "feels" good to have people flatter and praise us as being such good persons.  It "feels" good to have people validate what we think and never challenge those beliefs with truth.  It "feels" good for people to be tolerant and accepting of our life choices and never say that some of them are wrong.  In such things, we fashion ourselves into a god, becoming our own standard for what is good and evil (Genesis 3:5).  But that is not love! 

This is why Proverbs 27:6 says that the "wounds" of a friend are faithful while the "kisses" of an enemy are deceitful.  Someone who really loves you is not there to be your "yes man", but to help you obtain all that God has for you in developing the Godly character reflected in His Son...even if it hurts along the way.

If we deceive ourselves by thinking that "love" is based on what makes us feel good or what is pleasing to the flesh, then we will never be able to receive nor understand the love of God.  We will remain stagnant in our lives and in our relationship with Him.  We might even perceive God's love as being unloving.

In the world, "love" is all about ME (need ME, want ME, love ME) because natural man instinctively gravitates to that which is comfortable.  As a result, we tend to draw back from correction and hardships; but such is the only way we can grow.  And Scripture says that only a true friend would care enough to provide that type of influence in our lives (Proverbs 27:6).

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Revelation 3:19 

We must get used to seeing love as God does.  The true test for love is not that it gives us the warm and fuzzies, but that it propels us towards God through obedience to His word.  The love of God may not always feel good to our flesh, but it is always for our good.

In His love, He is molding us into the image of His Son so that others can see His Son in us.

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