Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finding Love in the Right Places

Some years ago a popular song stated "What the world needs now is love, sweet love, that's one thing there's just too little of." Perhaps we could adapt that song for the church. What the church needs now is love, sweet love. We don't really have a love shortage, we have a practice of love shortage. Concerning love, John wrote “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." (I John 4:16). We as Christians live in the realm and sphere of love. When a believer shows love toward another believer, this provides assurance to the first believer that he or she resides in God and likewise, that God resides in him or her. Love being practiced lets us know that God is at work. Believers know that they reside in God, and he in them, because of the presence of his Spirit. Believers also know that God has granted them to share in his Spirit because they acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son and because they show love for their fellow believers. John goes on the explain "By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world." (I Peter 4:17). John now talks about Christian growth (what we might call Christian maturity or sanctification). As believers practice love for one another this love is perfected, and that in turn allows them to have confidence in the day of judgment. “If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us.” "Just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world." We are God's representation of His Son in this world. We may well be the only representation of Jesus Christ a person will ever meet. How do we represent Jesus to a lost world? By love. We are to love everyone, our enemies, friends, neighbors, family, believers, co-workers the church, God. True love is made out of shoe leather. God loved and did something about it. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." (John 3:16). Love is an action word. I have a good friend who pastors an inner city church. He will meet with people in some unique places. Several members of his church, at one time, lived under a bridge, He went to their "Home" and opened the Scriptures with them. After they accepted Christ, he helped them find jobs and housing. Most importantly this pastor helped them grow spiritually. This is God's love in action. This same pastor told me about the love Christ has planted in his heart toward lost souls. He said as an officer in the Marines, during the Viet Nam War, one of his men was shot, the wound was mortal. He said while they waited for the medic to arrive, he held the dying man in his arms and shouted "Live, please live." Tragically, the soldier bled to death in his arms. He told me he feels the same way about a person without Christ. He said he has the same passion for a person to live spiritually as he did for that soldier to live physically. How is the love of God being lived out in your life? As believers we have the Lover (Jesus), living in our lives. As Jesus is so are we in this world. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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