There is always someone who is in need of help. Driving through Atlanta it is clear to me that people are struggling. The homeless need shelter, food, clothing while the drug addicts need a dose of self honesty to stop the downward cycle of self-destruction. Commuters encounter each other in the hustle and bustle of hard work, appointment making and networking often in need of help just to smile. Hell, I need help just to cope with the mental, emotional and physical demands of being me – a middle-aged man called by God to preach, teach and live to serve others as a vessel of Light. There is a solution!
Helping others is spiritual. It promotes selfless acts of love inspired by inwardly receiving the love of Christ ourselves. Jesus Christ is love. We would not know true love if it was not first demonstrated by Him towards us. “We love Him because He first loved us.”(1 John 4:19) His loving kindness is so enduring it progressively proves the excellence that is God’s faithfulness towards us. No one else in this world is going to love us like Him. His love is spiritual and great enough to influence that which is natural and earthly. Through His love in us, we become willing to help others experience real love through giving, caring, sharing, laughing and releasing it into the lives of others.
Agape love is the love of Christ characterized in 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s how it works for me:
When I see my ex-wife happy in another relationship and/or my associates happy in their marriages and family lives, my selfishness can make me bitter, disinterested and aloof. Agape love is patient, kind and is not jealous. Through Christ I can be glad for their happiness and thankful for the happiness I have know in my former marriage and family. I can and do celebrate their lives unselfishly.
– my adult children’s safety, their financial stability and life choices – Here is where I become fixated on controlling tactics to influence outcomes in others that will make me feel better about myself. The fact is agape love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Through Christ I can experience the peace of God through His love effectually embracing me spiritually. It is so powerful it enables me to experience faith overriding my fear. In the moment of someone’s crisis, I can “be” a staple of love, kindness, wisdom, hope and willing to help others – loved ones, strangers, members of the Body of Christ, etc.
In myself (my flesh) I am unwilling to be of help (service) to anyone unless I am getting something out of the experience. Selfishness will even make me lose out on capitalizing moments. However, through my spiritual position “IN CHRIST” I am fortified to be a vessel through which His love is freely demonstrated towards others. You too can experience the powerful, strengthening love of Christ Jesus compelling you to live in the Spirit and stay willing to help others in any way possible. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
16. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment ; because as He is, so also are we in this world.18. There is no fear in love ; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19. We love, because He first loved us.
God gave us the cogent example of the Pharisee in the Gospels to demonstrate how human wisdom and human interpretation of God’s word leads to spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law but they did not have a clue about the significance of Christ – whose identity originates in the Old Testament to prophets like Moses, who wrote the Torah.
Consider the lesson contained in the reaction Christ demonstrates towards the Pharisees.
If you too are so focused on keeping your outside clean for others to think you have it all together, yet you continue to neglect God’s goodness to your spirit, through his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy at Calvary, then, like the Pharisees, you too are guilty of hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.
23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! (NET Bible)
We all experience the presence of buoyancy time and again. Whether I am enjoying the simplicity of an afternoon of fun and relaxation in the park, a social gathering in the community or an intimate get together with friends/family, I have found that the term “I love……” is used far more frequently today. The statement “Oh my God, I love………” is a popular phrase both young and older people have coined into their mode of expressing this powerful emotion. Quite honestly, I hear the phrase “I love…….” being used so often that I have begun to question the nature of the sentiment.
Do you ever find yourself asking the question, “Are you serious? You don’t even know________? This inquiry seems to really surface when I hear people describe artistry – music, art, poetry,
dance, etc. – as people are describing how what they see and hear affects them to their core. John Legend is a gifted male musician/vocalist. His timeless hit “Ordinary People” moved many fans to listen to that song over and over again. We could not hear it enough when it hit the airwaves; we bought the CD in bulk to give to friends/family as gifts; we flocked to his concerts to hear his live version and I am sure that even now, after many more tunes he may perform, nothing will stir the crowd more than when he begins to play the opening cords to “Ordinary People.” If you ever found yourself caught up in the storm that was “Ordinary People” you may have said “I love John Legend.”
I can not begin to understand why love is such a flippant expression. Personally, I believe that my own personal entanglement with the human elements attached to the expectations of “love” have challenged my perspective on how I receive the term when I hear it. Today I am not so quick to readily apply my personal understanding of love to another person’s expression of love. It is fair play to naturally navigate through the varied currents of love with a relative outlook. But one thing that I can understand about love, no matter how trivialized, over emphasized or grandiose it may be is this – LOVE NEVER FAILS.
People fail. Systems fail. Every aspect of human experience has the potential to fail. How can you love something or someone else when you don’t love yourself through your own failures? A battle between the intellect and the emotion continues. But God is LOVE! He is the solution to every issue with love. Everything that He Is is LOVE. From the onset of Creation until today and beyond, FAILURE IS NOT IN HIS repertoire. His example is not to be understood but instead, trusted.
We ALL need Love and we NEED to be able to express true, unconditional love. Life breeds love of all types. Often times, the love that I hear about and even describe today is absent of depth. It can be turned on/off at a whim. This is dangerous.
An assessment on the state of the heart (https://conquerorshots.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/check-up-on-the-heart/) will reveal the subsequent harm done to a person’s core if you are willing to be honest about what love truly is. (I Corinthians 13) There can be an enormous debate over the fluidity of love. Because it stems from the core i.e. the heart, human interpretation is subject to many differences of opinions.
Here at ConquerorShots we are united in the belief that if you want to understand, practice and experience true love, God is the reference source. Specifically, if ever you are perplexed over the idea of what love truly is, what it does and how to give and receive it, we recommend a trip to Calvary and all of the details including the Resurrection for the most honest, revealing, life-enriching display of love. It will shape your life’s existence of true love and provide you with wisdom to know otherwise.