Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The absence of Love

There is a certain temptation that always seems to find itself in my path. You know what I mean, don't you? The one thing that is desirable to you... maybe it's the lure of money, jealousy, gossip, pride, whatever it is, it always seems to find you, doesn't it?

I write a lot about sin, and think a lot about sin, because it's something I'm always grappling with. No amount of bible studies, sermons, accountability groups, or Sunday school classes can keep you from living in the real, beautiful, fallen, imperfect world.

In my early walk with authentic Christianity, I thought if I learned the rules well enough, I could avoid everything I ought to avoid... and Just when I would start to think that I have everything mastered, temptation would trip me up all over again.

Today, when temptation knocked on my door, however, it was.. dare I say...easy to close the door. It didn't feel like dying to myself, it didn't even feel painful, it felt freeing.

"Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

Sin is missing the mark of God, missing the bulls eye of perfection. We miss the mark all the time. We miss the very heart of God.

Isn't that really what sin is? We are missing the heart of God, to truly love Him and one another. And not just the people we want to love on.

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

"For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He didn't die just for the people who were good, the people He liked, the people were trying to follow the rules. He died for us all while we were yet sinners. While I was still avoiding Him, while I was hiding from Him, while I was rebelling against Him, He died for me anyways.

Today, when the snake came disguised as a friend, and made the forbidden apple look shiny and desirable, it was easy to close the door, because my first thought was not of myself, the things I wanted, it was of someone else. It was of someone very dear to me that I could hurt with my actions. And my love for them, not the shiny drunk love, but the real, God-supplied Love, made it easy to close the door.

Imagine if our love for others; our neighbors, our spouses, our children, the strangers living on the wrong side of the tracks, was Real. If our love was authentic. If our love wasn't supplied by emotion, but by a Loving God. A God who is a God of Grace. A God of Undeserved Favor. For if we ourselves know we are undeserving of His Love, and yet have accepted it anyways, how can we not extend that to everyone we cross paths with? Despite our jealousy, our fears, our frustrations, our anger, our hatred... Despite our sinful heart.

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36)

"Love is not rude. It is not self seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres."