Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Without love, I am nothing"


When someone asks you what the Christian life is about, does love enter the top three things you mention? I have to confess that very often I have not given love its important place in my life and teaching, and this is simply not biblical.

"The goal of the commandment is love from a pure heart and from a clear conscience and from a genuine faith." (1 Tim 1:5) Paul's instructions and the instructions of all the teachers of the Old Testament have a primary goal in mind: that we might love God and others (Matt 22:34-40). Paul states the goal of his teaching clearly in 1 Tim 1:5, and prays for this goal in Philippians 1:9-11: "And this is my prayer: that your love would abound more and more..." It is important that he does NOT say: "I pray that your Bible knowledge would abound more and more... that your wealth would increase more and more... that you'd feel better more and more..." He prays that God may increase their love. Even in letters where Paul is teaching so much about knowledge and true doctrine, he is careful to say that these things are means by which we adore God more and love more. (Eph 1:15-23; 3:14ff). Knowledge may come, and it should, but love is above it (1 Cor 13:8-13).

But what do we pray for our churches? Do we pray that they may grow in love? Or do we pray that our churches and friends and family may grow in Bible knowledge? in numbers? in health? in success of wealth? or other things. Of course, these are not bad and we should often pray for them... but what place do they have in my prayer life? and how often do we pray for others love to increase? How often to pray for our own love to increase?

What if all the things we prayed for came true? What if God gave all the happiness I've asked of Him, for myself, my family and my church? What if God granted that our churches grew in numbers? What if He granted my prayers to finally understand Him better, to finally be able to put together all these things in Scripture so that I could understand them? What if I became all that I've hoped for: as a man, a husband, a pastor? What if all my family and friends were successful and healthy? What if our churches were the great churches of our communities?

The Lord gives us an answer to these questions:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, if I deliver up my body to burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." (1 Cor 13:1-5).

1 comment:

Jay The Barber said...

God gave me a revelation about this recently in my own marriage.We were discussing our feelings one night,and in raw vulnerability my wife says," I feel like I'll never have a piece of you that Elizabeth had"(my first wife).I was almost resentful. Why I had only been married to her for 22 months, and Angela and I had been married for over 9 years now.That comment haunted me. I thought I was giving her everything.So I took it to the Father in alter service one night, and began to ask him about it. He simply said,"Love her as your first love".I began to think about that and those feelings of a love-sick, giddy teenager began to come back to my mind, and all those emotional investments you make in nievity and innocence. How you just give your whole heart and being to someone, like you do to your "first love".It is of a truth when David said "no man knows his own heart".The walls of protection I had build over the years to guard my heart came crashing down, and a fountain of repentance broke out. Talk about inner healing that night. It actually took me a week before I could share this miracle with Angela, because I couldn't keep from crying, just thinking about it. Then I got to repent to Angela. You can only imagine how this brought strength, growth, and healing to our marriage.Thanks Tom, for letting me share!ajt7598