Love is a Choice!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(To get to the heart of this blog, skip to paragraph 4)
God is our model. He left eternity, entered time, was born as though He was His creation, dwelt among His creation, was rejected, crucified and resurrected; all in an effort to reconcile man to Himself by becoming the perfect sacrifice! John reminds us of His effort, and His purpose. This effort, much like His creation of the World and of Adam and Eve, was a result of His unconditional love, which persevered broken covenants and endured great distance and hardship. His love reached beyond the external, leaning on the internal, and distributed a mercy and grace not based upon merit, but on love alone!
When reading this, I am reminded that His love was a gift to us, and not a reward based upon our actions or accomplishments. Truthfully, we deserved a brutal, ugly public divorce!!! Over and over, we sat in mediation with God through the Prophets, as He poured out His heart for us, honoring His covenant, and forgiving us for breaking ours. He tried separation, allowing Adam and Eve to live outside of the Garden. He continued giving us our space, allowing us to entertain other suitors while He reached out to us. He endured us moving in lovers into His home, and suffered pain and agony watching us use the resources He gathered, and had set aside for His usage be used to declare our love and admiration for another!
All the while, he remained filled with love; demonstrating a steadfast and longsuffering love for us who fell in and out of love with Him from day to day. Yet, He chose to love! He chose to share His love with us, though we had proven ourselves unworthy, and as filthy wretches, we were also marred and unlovable. Yet, God still chose to Love us!
Blog starts here!
OK! The point of this blog! I said all that to stand by the statement that love is truly a choice. God could have chosen not to love us. He could have watched us suffer, and ultimately watched us perish and suffer an eternity outside of His love and mercy, yet He didn’t. Ultimately, God is the supreme example of what we are to be. His love for us is not only extended to us, but is extended through us, as He commands us not only to love Him, but to love one another.
Jesus could have been born and walked directly to the cross (just for argument’s sake), but He (filled with compassion) had many encounters not simply to display His power and confirm His deity, but to verify that He was sent, and to do what The Father would do. His love for His creation caused Him to make stops, again, not for show/entertainment or to gain popularity, but to make sure even the least of these felt the love and compassion that God had for them, despite their present circumstances.
Why is this important?
This is important because we are to mirror the love of Christ! I am saddened as a global church, that the love we have for the world is far from the mark of Christ, and sadly, the love that we have for each other still miles away from the target. Honestly, from the inside, it doesn’t seem like His mark is the one we are aiming for. It seems as though we are constantly driving our ball onto a different hole.
(Funny story: I once Tee’d and aimed for the wrong flag on a golf course.
Don’t ask. It was a long and embarrassing day. I did land on the green
Honestly, the world continues to watch the global church pull out its driver and swing with all its power. We continue to drive the ball all over the course, seemingly unaware that there are fairways and greens assigned to the whole we are playing. On our best days we seem to be playing from the rough, and our ball seems drawn to every pit and water hazard on the course.
Now, I’m about to talk about Racism, so some might not want to read beyond this part.
I believe God is embarrassed!!!!!!!!!!! The church, His bride seems to be severed from its husband. We are a body that has found a way to operate without our head. We have remained in rebellion and are determined to find a way to remain disjointed and attached to hate, greed, pride, fear, and foolishness.
We have people who are blood bought! People who are supposed to be covered in the Blood of Christ! People who are supposed to be submitted to His Word and His way. People who call themselves disciples, choosing not to love!!!!! There are people that are holding up a blood-stained banner of an Innocent Lamb and a Conquering Lion who have chosen not to show mercy on those this Lamb Sacrificed His life for!
No, don’t fool yourself, this is not survival of the fittest. This is a bunch of greedy people fighting not over daily provision but fighting to maintain a lifestyle that even our God would not be encouraging us to pursue. Now, I’m not saying sell it all and grab a glass of punch, but God constantly refocused our perspective on the spiritual and the temporal, and what we are fighting over is not Spiritual at all. It’s the equivalent of John and James asking to sit at the right hand. They are already loved. Already chosen! Already set apart, and they look to their left and right and decide to make a power play for a seat that neither of them was worthy nor willing to sacrifice to fill. They had God’s love and Grace. They even had received His power! But it wasn’t enough. The seat they wanted wouldn’t enable them to do more, but it would enable them to be seen and respected more. They wanted to live in the palace, and lost sight of Davids description and their own experience being in His presence; and so, have we!
Sadly, the church is supposed to be the place where God’s love overflows. It’s supposed to be a place where God’s love prevails. It’s supposed to be a place where God’s love is supreme, but it has become a place where God’s love is simply needed! Jesus came and turned over the tables once because prayer had ceased in His house, and I fear upon return His complaint will be about the prevailing message of hate and the unrighteous and unjust treatment of those He loves.
I am asking that you look at your love this year. And yep, look at your past efforts in love. Honestly, we have all made some really bad relationship choices. We have managed our love unlike our God and are long overdue from a change of heart and a renewing of our minds. God has demanded more of us, than what we have offered to Him. His investment in us has yet to live up to the return it deserves. I am begging each of you to first consider, and then reconsider love. Relook at Christ, not through the lenses of a politician or even a preacher. Look at Jesus yourself. See His treatment of those who were Jews, and Gentiles. Look at His interaction with the Samaritans. Consider all His teachings to those that followed Him. Open your heart to His message, unfiltered by our social status and fears, and truly ask yourself again, what would Jesus do? And when you find it, be obedient to what you see and hear, so you and I can both hear Servant Well Done!