Borrowed Truths

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It is supposed to be a labor of love. It is not an obligation, not a burden, not a requirement, it is a choice. Love cannot be forced upon anyone, God does not tempt us with virtue, He does however set before us nearly everyday opportunities to express a love that does not belong to us, that resides in us only because of His Holy Spirit within us.

Love is not just a feeling my friends, although we are emotion-based individuals, it is more than an expression of words or actions, it is a desire, a pull, not a push. No one loves you because they have to, because they are required to, it is always a choice, a decision made within us to behave in a certain manner. There are of course depths to love, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30) Not even your spouse or dear mother is to be loved as much as you love Jesus Christ.

There is a pattern that evolves in each of our lives as the years go by, one that is generally relative to how we are treated by others, it is the way of the world, and I have yet to meet anyone who does not abide by its rules and regulations. Although we may try to emulate Christ in our affections with all that we meet, we are unable to love those that are further from us as we do those who are near. I do not mean by geographical distance, but by familiarity, those we know we love more than those we are unfamiliar with. In part this comes from trust, time enables us to trust, for the actions of the present can be related with known truths from the past. Not so with those that we have met for the first time, we do not know them, and so we reserve our trust for them until an acquaintanceship evolves over time, and with that time and trust comes the ability to love.

Fear is one of the adversaries to love, the unknown individual holds no reference point in our minds, and so we guard ourselves, we hold back decisions about the person until we have been given the time to get to know them. This is what is happening in a large part of the Christian community, this fallacy that we must become friends with someone first before we can lead them to the cross, before we can love them. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” (Matt. 23:39) not after several trips across the hall, not after a specified number of conversations over the fence in the backyard, right now, all the time. “Husbands love your wives,” (Eph. 5:25) the moment you marry her and until death do you part, and hopefully for many long after that, throughout all eternity.

Love is an action, it is an emotional state, but it is much more than that, it is a conscious decision, it is a choice. Yes, we are commanded to love, but it is next to impossible to force a change within our emotional response to someone, it is perhaps one of the most difficult and misunderstood structures within the Word of God. We must not only submit to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we must alter one of the deepest emotional states that is within us. Hate comes easy, in no matter what form you choose to use the word, jealousy, envy, lust, they all come quite naturally to us, for the old man within each of us is stronger than we realize. Read here from 1 Cor. 13:4-5 what the words of God Himself tells us what love is. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” Charity is love, it is not some fanciful notion, it is not for the weak of heart or the wobbly kneed individual, it takes a man or lady of the cut of the Scriptures, emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to love like this.

No one who does not have the Spirit of God within them will ever be able to love to this degree, and no born-again believer will ever attain to the heights of these words unless they first die to self. The level of self-sacrifice that is required to love like this is beyond any human being, only our Lord can love in this manner, and He asks you to allow Him to do so through you. We must step back and move forward at the same time, move ahead in confidence, and step back in humility in the knowledge that He has blessed us with the opportunities of love in this manner. There is no desire greater in the life of a born-again believer than to bring glory to the name of Jesus, it is in love only that we are able to do so, whether it be in the lifting up of the hurting, or in the faithful wounds of a friend, (Prov. 27:6) love covers a multitude of sins, (1 Peter 4:8) and it was the sin of the entire world, every human being who ever will or has lived, that love showed itself as the only answer. (John 3:16)

It never ceases to amaze me that those that we love for the sake and glory of God mock us, rebuke, and ridicule us, even hate us, and I do not speak only of the lost here. We have been sanctified, we are children of the Most High God, we have one main duty above all others, glorify His name. Words and actions, that is the only two tools that have been given us, it is how we wield them that makes us known to the world that we belong to Christ. Love has as many meanings as the word hate does, but they hold one-character trait in perfect harmony with each other, they are both a choice of your own free will. Hate will kill you and everyone around you, love, the love of Christ will not automatically draw them to the cross, they may rebuke you in hatred, but that matters not.

Answer Cain’s question my friend, give him the answer to one of the most important questions ever asked in the entire history of mankind, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

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