LOVE DOES, PART 3

Posted by Tori on Jun 14, 2013 in a good word., Sisterhood Summer Study

Hey girls! Welcome to the blog! In case you haven’t been here over the past couple of weeks, I’ll let you in on what’s happening. We are reading through Bob Goff’s book, Love Does over the month of June as a part of my women’s ministry’s summer book club. But, you do not have to be a part of the women’s ministry or even have been following along up to this point to join in. The beauty of this book is how light and easy it is to read and to pick up at any point along the way. So, I hope you’ll make yourself at home and hop on in.

For those of you that have been following along, I really do hope that you are enjoying this as much as I am, and that you have been inspired and challenged to love more freely and passionately. This week, we have taken a look at Chapters 11-15 together. I love how the main themes from each of these chapters tie together so beautifully.

We have to remember and be conscious of how impactful our words are to others (Wow, What a Hit!). Your words — my words — have the power to build up or tear down. We may never know what words from our lips will stick with someone and shape how they think, how they view themselves, or how they live. I think about this often when I’m interacting with my children. I want, more than anything, to speak life to them. To build them up. To show them Jesus. I fall short over and over. But, He remains gracious even in my failure.

The book of James has a lot to say about the power of the tongue. Look at what James says in 3:4-5, 9-12:

4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

You know, Bob makes another excellent point that, far too often, people are fed a “fake Jesus” and left with a bitter taste in their mouths (A New Kind of Diet). What we say and how we live before others who do not know Jesus speaks volumes to them about who He is and what we truly believe. I think that what makes the difference, more than our words, is our love. After all, Jesus said that others will know we follow Him by how we love (John 13:34-35).

We have to be genuine. We have to stop wearing masks. We have to stop being so prideful that we worry about what others would think if they saw the real us — imperfections, failures, sin, and all. Have we ever stopped to consider what that communicates about the cross of Christ? When we are so wrapped up in portraying an image of ourselves, we diminish Christ’s work. Your redeemed life screams forth His glory. If we conceal our flaws, our past, or our mistakes, then we make our faith all about what we can do, not about what He has done to pull us out of our pit; to bring a dead soul to life.

Part of being genuine involves a balance in our language and how we approach our faith in conversation (A Word Not to Use). We cannot have an attitude of exclusivity (that’s about the farthest from Christ you can get). We need to be careful not to over-complicate or over-spiritualize. Bob says it this way:

“A lot of Christians do the same thing [angling] with their faith without really noticing it. It’s not because they’re malicious or anything. They’ve just bought into the hype that faith is like an exclusive club you’re in. They take what used to be authentic friendships and use them like a networking cocktail mixer. … But these folks run the risk of downgrading a genuine and sincere faith…”

Let’s just be as genuine a Christ follower as we can be, and let’s ask His Spirit to help us. And, let’s remember the mission we’re on — to spread the word about the invitation of God to live fully and forever through His Son (There’s More Room).

Bob throws out one of my most favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis in his chapter, Bigger and Better. This is what Lewis says: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a great admirer of Lewis. He is so, so right. We settle way too easily for something that we are convinced is unrivaled and glorious and happy. Yet, we have no way of imagining how infinitely greater it is to behold Christ; and how fully and completely satisfied we can be in Him — Him alone.

It’s like that, too, in regard to how we love. We hold back way too much when we try to love. If this book has taught me anything, it is how stingy I am with my love, as if I had something to lose. Listen close, friend, you will never look back on your life with Lord, loving and living like Him, and say, “I gave to much.” 

People, though originally formed and fashioned in His image, are fallen and depraved. Some people are down right evil. It may be easy to look at them and claim that they are not worth the sacrifice of your love. But, God sees mankind differently. Sin against a perfect and holy God is equally deplorable, and equally worthy of death. Yet, God claims that His creation is worth the sacrifice of His love, not because of anything good in and of ourselves, but because of His own goodness. He chooses to love us and offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sin. He initiates the action of reconciliation, not as the offending party, but as the offended party. He is holy, and His wrath towards sin is just as righteous as His goodness. Propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving His wrath. John Stott simplifies it this way, “God himself gave himself to save us from himself.”

So, as His people, redeemed by His blood, we love others not because they are worthy, but because He is worthy. And we love them out of His love for us. That’s why Jesus said this in Matthew 5:44-48 (ESV):

44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

That’s how we do it. It’s all Him through us.

So, this week, I am asking Him to love through me. To cause my eyes to see people like He sees them. To love fully, not holding anything back!

(I look forward to meeting you back on Wednesday, 6/19 to discuss Chapters 16-20. If you’re new to the study, you can download a .pdf of the schedule here.)

 

 

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1 Comment

Ester Yang
Jan 27, 2014 at 7:13 am

Here is a listing of words that describe feelings. If you are having difficulty putting a name on your feeling, this list may help you find the right word.


 

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