IS THE CHURCH SENDING THE RIGHT MESSAGE?

The world does not believe the church demonstrates the kind of love Jesus taught. It is the kind of love that has no limit. How do we test this love? We test it by our relationship with God and examine how much we love Him and others.

We must not confuse the definition of love:
EROS is a physical and sexual attraction. It is instinctive and natural.
STORGE is a family affection or love. It is often called brotherly love.
PHILIA is a warm personal friendship and it is an affection between two individuals.
AGAPE is a unique love in that you love without expecting love or anything in return. It is an unconditional love. It is called a Christian love. This love is not easy to define but it can be demonstrated and this is the love the world expects from Christian. It is a forgiving love without demanding any return. It is a divine love that is a gift from the Holy Spirit.

What is a Christian told to do? Mark 12:30 – 31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Christian love can create circumstances in which conflicts can be solved. The gospel message is that love corrects man’s selfishness and perverted love. God’s love, as we know, is unconditional, unlimited and impartial. This love is not automatic or mechanical. It is this love that changes a person’s life. This is the kind of love Christ wants us to accept and practice. The more people that practice this type of love the more peaceful the world would become. Love is the one thing that can change everything!

The moment one is saved from our sins, our goal is described in the 13th chapter of I Corinthians verses 2 to 8 – “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

The Bible tells us to live a holy life. Living a holy life is not possible without love. Love only exists when a person feels free. You cannot force someone to love.

Romans 13:8 – 10 – “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love fulfills the law.”

How can we learn to love others as ourselves if we first do not love ourselves? It is a Christian’s obligation to love others. To a degree, it is our responsibility to help others that are unable to help themselves. We need to be aware and actively engaged to see that their needs are met. Whenever love demands, we are to do to others as Jesus would certainly do for us. This used to be something that we did for others. Now we are asking the government to release us from this responsibility. However, God hasn’t!

Paul wrote that God is love. It is God’s nature to love and man’s carnal nature is to serve self. Christian love is neither weak nor spineless. Love comes from courage. Strength comes from a pure heart. God’s love allows for a difference of opinion, others to be free and creative in voicing their beliefs. This love does not destroy indifference or isolationism.

A Christian can love their neighbor, with a universal love, not confined to just certain people. It is not restrained to those who agree with him or her on opinion or in having different forms of worship. We are not to love only those who love us or those we are intimately acquainted with.

Christ says we can know who His disciples are by how they love God and how they love others. This love that God asks us to have is not easily defined but it can be demonstrated. It is a love that is not partial and it is a love that is forgiving. Someday, we will live with people all having an unconditional love. There will be nothing on this earth to be feared. Animals, snakes and nature will all be under control of God and will be compatible with each other as described in Isaiah 11:6 – 9 – “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together;and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

This is the kind of love the world expects from Christians and I believe it is the kind of love God also expects from us. How can you be a true Christian and not make love a number one priority? If you are struggling loving others you may want to examine your spiritual health. This will be the number one requirement in eternity.

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