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« Believing: The Key to Everything! | Main | Essentials for Power Living »

Three Things I Know About Love

large_ws260.jpg Have you ever wondered why the common symbols of love—a dozen roses, an engagement gift, the simple expression of “I love you”—wield such intoxicating power? These expressions can release the totality of a person’s emotions.

But beware! Masters of manipulation know how to give the gifts and say the words without sincerity. That’s why we must scrutinize love. We have to test its reality. Love is too important, too conceptually dangerous, and too powerful to be embraced without convincing proof of its authenticity. It cannot simply be taken at one’s word.

To demand proof of love may sound callused, but it is Biblical. Paul wrote, “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” II Corinthians 8:8. Also, he said, “Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.” II Corinthians 8:24. Here are three things that I know about genuine love:

Love is compelling. Love will make you do what you had not planned to do. It makes debtors out of people who previously didn’t owe a dime. It makes virtual slaves out of those who boasted of their freedom. It leads self-possessed people into immense sacrifice. It turns miscreants into martyrs, stubborn hearts into silly putty, and brutes into puppy dogs.

Look what love did to Jesus. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. Genuine love always compels us to cross the grain of fleshly impulses.

Love is transcending. Love will lift you into a higher realm. There is no higher virtue, no greater attribute of God than love. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” I John 4:16-19

Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In John 13, however, he said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34. In other words, Jesus changes the frame of reference from the human realm to the divine. Our feelings, emotions and sentiments cannot determine our love. They keep love on a human level. Divine love, however, not only propels us above hatred, bitterness, jealousy and strife, it sends us soaring beyond common human motivations like competition, self-will and emulation.

The Christ-life grows out of love, not law. We pay our tithes because we love Jesus. We come to church because we love Jesus. We live holy because we love Jesus. We reject worldly influences because we love Jesus.

Love is transforming. Love will make you become what you have never been before. This is the best thing I know about love. A. D. Urshan used to say to someone who said, “I love chocolate cake,” ‘No, no. You like chocolate cake. You love Jesus.’” We reserve our love for things that are most deserving. In fact, I believe that one will become what one loves. Love does not happen in a vacuum. What or who you love will change you.

This transformational power of love is precisely why the Bible strongly warns us about the influence of the world in our lives. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15. Also, II Timothy 6:10. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Those who love the world will become like the world.

Likewise, our loving God transforms us into His image. The more we love God, the more like God we will become. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God … but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” I John 3:1. Love is the catalyst that transforms mortals into Christ-likeness.

Love compels, transcends, and transforms. It drives you on, lifts you up and changes you from the inside out. Make no mistake about it—-you can digitize, computerize, and thoroughly modernize the Church and the Word all you want—-but love is only one thing that lies at the core of our Christianity. Love is still the greatest!

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