Living Love is Living In Grace

How do we live and walk the love of Ephesians 5:1-2? I have a new favorite book that I’ve been reading entitled “Grace Filled Marriage” by Tim Kellem. And in his book, he points out most people love by the lens they see life with. So the question then becomes what lens at a given time am I seeing others through? Am I living Love?

Me Lens – It’s described as a lens that reflects everything the person sees back on them. Imagine an interrogation room how one side is mirrored and the other can see everything through. The Me Lens is like the mirrored side of life on seeing life and others by how it affects them. This lens often leads to us being self-absorbed and self-protecting.

Love If Lens – I will love you if you do this this and this. I will love you as long as the conditions are right. Getting out of the car and your sunglasses fog up after riding around in the A/C, you cannot see because the conditions are not right. However, when everything normalizes, the lens can be seen out of. Often times this is a result of us creating a list of why we love others, but the problem arises when they stop meeting those expectations, will we still love them? We are quick to criticize with these lens because our expectations are not being met. This lens often leads to us being self-serving and self-protecting.

Pious lens – Pious is defined as being devoutly religious, making a hypocritical display of virtue, churchy, or holier-than-though. I have learned of the 3 this one is the most sinister because most can be convinced of their self-absorption, self-serving or self-protecting. However, it’s much harder to get people to acknowledge their own self-righteousness. These are sometimes church members don’t live as believers but like Pharisees. Jesus had specific names for people like these: Jesus called them snakes (Mat. 23:33), whitewashed tombs (23:27) and kissing cousins of the devil himself (John 8:44).

However, the unnatural lens is the lens Ephesians 5:1-2 call us to. The Grace lens – The Grace lens allows us to love unconditionally. And we cannot do this naturally. IT’s only by Christ. It’s unconditional therefore it chooses to love and it’s action because is willing to love others even when they are unlovable. Grace lens sees people how Christ sees people. Are You Walking In Love? Love defined by God is a choice, Love defined by Christ is action. The Holy Spirit enables, and empowers you to live it!

Choosing & Living Love – Ephesians 5:1-2

I would encourage you to go and read 1 Corinthians 13 and see how God truly defines love. I think Love is one of the most important things we can live, show and give to others. And scripture backs this thought up, John 13:35 states, Love is how the world should recognize us. I love the verses of Ephesians 5:1-2 and describing and encouraging us to be imitators of God and Christ love but have you ever really looked at the Greek words.

Love Like God (vs. 1-2a) When you think and dwell on this it’s really powerful and humbling to me. Paul’s reminding us and taking us back once again to our identity. Often times, we hear people say like father like son and that is certainly true of me. I am a lot like my earthly father. Here Paul is reminding us we are God’s children and as His children, we should seek to imitate Him in love. How does God love us? The Greek word mean “love given freely without conditions.” He has chosen to love us. Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We didn’t earn it, don’t deserve it and there is no way to justify it. The world only loves those that love them but God’s love is unconditional. In other words, they love those who earn it, or deserve it. That’s not the love of God, He chooses to love us.

Love Like Christ (vs. 2b) Christ loved us so much that He willingly endured the cross. He sacrificed Himself for us. How we live our lives should be characterized by our oneness with Christ. So, Paul explained that we are to live a life filled with love for others. Our love for others should be of the same kind that Christ showed to us. Paul uses a different Greek word here meaning to love or the act of love – meaning love is action. Christ love is a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. Christ loved us so much that he gave himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Christ gave himself in death as a sacrifice on our behalf. The Love we are called to is both a choice and action. Choose and Live Love today!

Am I Living A Chameleons Life?

Read Ephesians 4:17-24. Often times the distractions of the world and life in general can have a devastating effect on our lives if we allow them. However, if you are a Believer today reading this, you don’t have to remain there. Your old self (that you are to put off) is your old programming not who you really are. You have been made new and your to walk in this newness of life in which Jesus has already done within you. You are new! As you learn Christ (grow in Him), you’ll find yourself changing your mind about everything and especially how you view the world around you. You will be “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may know what is the good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God” (see Rom_12:2).

Intentional Living

I have been praying a lot and seeking to be completely set-out to live for God. And while I get caught up with the distractions of life like everybody else, my desire is to be completely surrendered to Jesus in every aspect of my life. I hope and pray that’s your desire as well. In examining my life, I desire to live everyday intentionally. And if that’s your prayer maybe this acronym for daily living will be beneficial to you. I am not attempting to be super-spiritual or religious, just want to be intentional with my relationship with Christ.

M – Meaningful Monday
T – Turn-back Tuesday
W – Worship Wednesday
T – Thanksgiving Thursday
F- Forgiveness Friday
S – Sanctification Saturday
S – Surrender Sunday

The Christian Virtue Of Love – By R.C. Sproul

Theologian and Pastor R.C. Sproul never knew me and I never got a chance to meet him. However, Pastor R.C. has had a big impact in my life with his knowledge and teaching of the scriptures. Pastor R.C. went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 14, 2017. Below is an article he previously wrote online about “The Christian Virtue of Love.”

How many people do you know that have made it to the hall of fame in music, art, literature, or sports because of their love? We elevate people to the status of heroes because of their gifts, their talents, and their power, but not because of their love. Yet, from God’s perspective, love is the chief of all virtues. But what is love?

Love is said to make the world go round, and romantic love certainly makes the culture go round in terms of advertising and entertainment. We never seem to tire of stories that focus on romance. But we’re not referring to romantic love when we speak of the Christian virtue of love. We’re talking about a much deeper dimension of love, a virtue so paramount that it is to distinguish Christians from all other people. Moreover, love is so important to the Bible’s teachings that John tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:7–8). Whatever else we say about the Christian virtue of love, we must be clear that the love God commands is a love that imitates His own. The love of God is utterly perfect. And we are called to reflect and mirror that love to perfection, to be perfect as He is perfect (Matt. 5:48). Now, of course, none of us loves perfectly, which is why we must be covered with the perfect righteousness of Christ by faith in Him alone. Nevertheless, it’s important for us to return time and again to Scripture to find out what love is supposed to look like, for we’re so easily satisfied with a sentimental, maudlin, romantic, or superficial understanding of love.

First Corinthians 13 plumbs the depths of what love really means. It’s a measuring rod by which we can examine ourselves carefully to see whether this love resides in our hearts and is manifested in our lives. Given that truth, I’m surprised that 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most popular passages in all of Scripture instead of being one of the most despised. I can’t think of any chapter in Scripture that more quickly reveals our sins than this chapter. It’s popularity may be due to its being one of the most misunderstood and least applied chapters in the Bible. There’s a sense in which we’re ambivalent toward it. We’re drawn to it because of the grandeur of its theme and the eloquence of its language, yet at the same time we’re repulsed by this chapter because it reveals our shortcomings. We want to keep some safe distance from it because it so clearly demonstrates to us our lack of real love.

This chapter is part of an Apostolic admonition to Christians who were torn apart by contentions in the church. They were behaving in an immature, fleshly manner, and at the heart of this ungodly behavior was a manifestation of certain talents, abilities, and gifts without the presence of love in their lives. In the opening verses, Paul speaks of love as the sine qua non of Christian virtue (1 Cor. 13:1–3). He’s speaking with hyperbole, intentionally exaggerating things to make his point. He starts off comparing love to the gift of tongues. Paul says, in effect, “I don’t care if you are fluent in fifty languages or if you have the gift to speak foreign languages miraculously. I don’t care if God has endowed you with the ability to speak the language of the heavenly host. If you don’t have love, the eloquence of your speech becomes noise. It becomes dissonance, an irritating and annoying racket.” He says here that if we speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, we become a sounding brass or a clanging symbol—mere noise. All the beauty of speech is lost when love is absent.

Paul then compares love to the gifts of prophecy and understanding, miraculous endowments that God gave to people during the Apostolic era. These tremendous gifts were nothing compared to love. The Apostle says that you can have a miraculous endowment, you can receive power from God the Holy Spirit, but it is to be used in the context of the grace of love. And without that love, the use of the divine power is a charade. Jesus had to warn even His own disciples about the danger of using a God-given gift without love. Jesus empowered His disciples to participate in His ministry of exorcism, and they went out on their mission and came back clicking their heels. They were so excited at the effectiveness of their ministry that they were rejoicing in the power Christ had given them. But what did Jesus say? Don’t rejoice because you have been given power over Satan, but rejoice that your names have been written in heaven (Luke 10:1–20). The disciples were caught up with the power instead of the grace that was underlying that power. They were intoxicated with the gift, and were forgetting the One who gave it.

The bottom line is that the gifts of God can be used without love. When that happens, their value is destroyed. The essence of love, 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, is to seek the welfare of others. A person who reflects God’s love is driven to give of himself for others, not to wield his power for his own benefit. But we are people who are more interested in power, in doing rather than being. We’re more concerned to seize the supernatural power that God can give rather than the supernatural love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). We have misplaced priorities. Thanks be to God that His love for us is greater than our love for Him. May He strengthen us to pursue love above all else, a love that reflects His love for us in Christ (5:8).

How do you Identify yourself? Luke 14:25-35

At its core, the call to discipleship is about identity. Jesus wants us to identify ourselves first and foremost as His followers. But we tend to identify ourselves by the things of this world we most value, like our relationships, our belongings, and our jobs. Jesus doesn’t mince words in Luke 14:25-35. Following Him comes with a cost; we have to sacrifice the things of this world to be His faithful disciples. Do family commitments or other priorities ever hinder your commitment to first seek God’s will or plan for your life? Why or why not? What actions can you take to ensure that your relationship with Jesus takes precedence over all other relationships? What did Jesus mean by bearing one’s own cross and following Him (v. 27)? What costs keep people from following Jesus today? What things in your life would you find most difficult to give up for the sake of following Christ? What does “a lifestyle of sacrifice in the name of Jesus” look like?

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, and cause me to stay out of Your way. Amen