Love Reasoning

It seems that I lately I am dealing with more and more with divorce than ever before.  In each case, there are real issues and if patience, forgiveness, reconciliation were to rule, the issues can be worked through and resolved, but I really believe that there is a level of pride in each case that keeps one of the people in these marriages from resolving issues and remaining husband and wife.

In nearly every case that I have ever dealt with as a pastor or as a friend, they claim that they love each other.  But love is not leading their hearts and minds, but emotions are ruling (love is emotional but not an emotion).  Their feelings are blinding love reasoning.  Let me explain.

Dictionary.com defines love mostly as affection, emotion, even sexual fulfillment ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/love ).  It’s all about a feeling guided by emotion.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary includes the same sort of definitions as Dictionary.com, but has a broader definition that comes closer to the Bible’s teaching and definition of love.

4 a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person’s adoration of God ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love ).

A Biblically accurate definition of love is “sacrifice.” 

Love is not an emotion as I’ve said before.  Love has emotional responses of hurt and anger and affection and joy and passion and many things that the dictionaries define as love.  They’re defining the emotional response.  See love is a choice.  It is something that grows.  Several young people who I have taught and counseled feel that they don’t have a choice in love.  They may be drawn to another person because of their looks, the way they respond to them or any other number of things, but they can’t help but love them because that is love.  Love is a choice and love is sacrifice.

Who better to define love than God.  John tells us that God is love (1 John 4:16).  And God’s definition of love is this: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down their life for their friends” John 15:13, see also 1 John 3:16 (my paraphrase).

What is the ultimate sacrifice?  Dying for someone else.  We see it with soldiers fighting to protect family and country.  We see if with people who save a drowning person but die in the process, or someone who pushes a person out-of-the-way of a speeding vehicle and are run down and killed by the same vehicle.  We see it in Jesus dying on the cross.  God’s love in the death of Jesus Christ the only unique Son of God.

The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them” (John 15:13, Contemporary English Version).

The cure for troubled marriages is to make love like God’s love.  To sacrifice self, my wants, my emotions, my will to the other which will lead to forgiveness, to change, to reconciliation.

Love looks out for the total well-being of the other.  It is not self-seeking, which is what is happening in each of the failing marriages that I mentioned above.

Church issues, friendship issues, any separation or break-down in relationships will be cured by Godly, Biblically defined love.  See how the definition of selflessness and self-sacrifice is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   8Love never fails.

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Exploring Passion

This is one of the guitars I love. I could go on endlessly about it. Do I have the same type or rather, a greater passion for Christ?

I have been in love with guitars since I was about 9 or 10 years old.  And I fell in love with the electric guitar a couple of years later.  I must admit I am passionate about guitars.

I could tell you how great they are and how guitars are the most expressive instruments there are after the violin and that might be questionable depending on the artist (eg, listen to Gary Moore play “Still Got the Blues,” or “The Messiah Will Come Again.”  Check him out on YouTube,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O_YMLDvvnw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9ruYs7Xxhg

I could relate to you how I fell in love with the guitar and the electric guitar in particular (that involves hearing Ralph Trotto and a couple of years later seeing a Red Gibson SG played at a youth rally in Carmel, Indiana in 1972 or 73).

I could share with you how the Les Paul/SG style guitars are the best, bar none (whether made by Gibson or similar types by Heritage, Paul Reed Smith, Carvin, Hamer and others).

I love guitar and I love guitar music and I could go and on and on.  Don’t leave me yet.  I have more and it’s better, I promise.

I could go on endlessly about my grand-children, or missionary son, or my 30 year marriage, or preaching, or my favorite sports and sports teams and individuals, or summer church camp, etc, etc.  I could go on and on and on with a lot of different things that I am passionate about.

But why is it, and I am guilty of this also, why is it, that the one thing, that Jesus considered the most important thing is for the most part, the least important thing and the one thing that possesses the least amount of passion for many Christians, and that is (we need an echo chamber here for emphasis), EVANGELSIM…LISM…Ism…sm…m!”  The echo really adds emphasis doesn’t it…LOL!

Where’s your passion, Christians?

Do you remember this?  Watch the video.

Instead of Clara hollering, “Where’s the beef?”  Imagine someone who is not yet a believer and follower of Christ crying, “Where’s the passion?”  There are a lot of people that do not respect Christians and are not listening to our message for a number of reasons.  One of the most significant reasons is that we don’t seem to have passion about Christ and the Church and Christianity.

If you think I mean by passion, a super- expressive way of presenting a message or making a point, like some preachers, or exciting speakers, well, that’s not necessarily what I mean.  A lot of people are not that way, don’t have expressive manners.  Passion may not be extreme emotional expression.  But it is a fire with in you.  Is Jesus everything to you?

I know there’s a lot here, but this IS important.  Read, or reread this post from 11/22/2009, and return for more;  https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/531/

Your passion is what you put your heart and soul into.  It’s not that when I do something, I do it all the way, or I put my best into it.  I do a job and I put my best into it, not because I am passionate about the job and the work involved, but because as a follower of Christ, I put my best into everything I do.  Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be,” Matthew 6:21 NLT http://www.youversion.com/bible/asv/matt/6/21).

Whatever is important to you, whatever has captured the desire of your heart, you’re going to invest in.  I love guitar and invest a lot of time, effort, and money into it.  I have a treasure there (I do have to guard it to keep it from becoming more important than Christ, Church, family, etc, so that it does not become idolatry.  Priorities you know).  What about my passion for Christ?  What have I invested?  The question begs to be asked, how do I come to have a passion for my Savior?  More than gratefulness, but that I want to invest my life into Jesus Christ.

Let me help you with that very quickly.

1st – Let Christ build that desire in you.  The Bible is where you get to know Christ and the primary source for building your relationship with him.  Live in the Gospels for a while.  A month, a year, several years.  Search out who Jesus is and how Jesus relates to you and is in your life.  As I’ve heard said from pulpits and Bible classrooms, “Fall in love with Jesus.”

2nd – Get to know Jesus through the lives of faithful Christians.  Listen to their testimonies, talk with them about their relationship with Christ and learn how it is applied in their lives.  You will probably pick up a dimension or two that you hadn’t figured until you see it lived out or hear about.  Also, read or listen to testimonies (here is one source for these types of testimonies; http://shareyourstorynow.org/).  Learn from others.  Maybe their fire (passion) for Christ will ignite yours.

3rd – Pray about it.  Ask God to fill you up with that passion.  It’s simple.  Ask in your words.  Talk to God believing and expecting, but don’t put any conditions on your request or develop the way you expect it to happen.  Let God do it.  God will answer and fulfill your request in his way, according to his time, and the way that is best.

4th – Begin to serve and follow and do the things of Christ.  Help the needy.  Go on a missions trip to serve the lost.  Be a servant in your church.  The possibilities are endless here.  Read Matthew 25:31-46 about the Sheep and the Goats, http://www.youversion.com/bible/asv/luke/2/1-10

Bye for now.  May the fire for Christ burn deep and long and hot in your life.  That is my prayer for all of us.

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