Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Love Versus a Critical Spirit – Part 1

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

This week, Michael writes that in any church assembly there are two kinds of people:  Christians who know Jesus and non-Christians who don't. Among the Christians there are also two kinds of people: those who have received salvation and follow Christ casually and those who are committed to follow Christ from a heart of unconditional love. Casual Christians who still think as a child have not grown up into the heart of the love of God. These "baby" Christians love conditionally and have not committed themselves to become like their Lord. Only those committed to the truth will we be set free. Only those committed to follow Christ from a heart of unconditional love will experience the fullness of the joy of the Lord.

If we're on a performance based system, we will never enter into the love of God. There is nothing that we can do to deserve God's love. The love of God is unconditional ... it is not contingent on our performance. The world's love is conditional on whether the other person performs ... on whether one party hurts the other party. This type of love is doomed to failure. It is here today and gone tomorrow. Conditional love, even in a marriage relationship will fail. However, the love of God keeps no record of wrongs done. The love of God will overcome all obstacles. This type of love requires that we surrender our hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ. To love others unconditionally we must meet each other at the foot of the cross. Love endures only when we love unconditionally with the love of Christ in us. Unconditional love requires that I give up my own "human" rights in order to surrender to the righteousness of God in Him.  

A critical spirit will break up any relationship. It blinds our eyes to everything that is attractive in the other person. "Falling out of love" is a deliberate intentional act of the will to turn against the other party. However the love of God thinks no evil of others. It keeps no record of wrongs done.  It has the capacity to persist even when there is no reciprocal response from the other person. A critical spirit must be fed ... focusing on how the other person has "violated my human rights" will result in contempt and resentment. In contrast, the love of God gives gladly and its reward is in the pure loving act of giving. The love of God says "forgive her even though she's done nothing to deserve forgiveness." God says that the marriage relationship according to his Word is the picture of Christ and the Church. Jesus Christ loved unconditionally those whom God would call and he endured the cross because of the joy set before him ... His joy was your redemption and mine.

Let’s continue Michael’s message on “Love” tomorrow. 

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