Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Love is Easy -- Stop Working So Hard

Love is easy -- if we are not trying to do it ourselves!

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

What seems to be the problem for most people, then?

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)

Do you know that God loves you? Do you believe that God loves you? Many people do not know the love of God, or they do not trust that God loves them.

What is the basis for so bold an assertion?

Reread verse 10, and the verse that follows:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:10-11)

God sent His Son to die for us, and through Him giving us all things:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)

God paid the ultimate price for us. He moved toward us, risked and released all for us, even though we were not looking for Him, nor even respected the magnitude of His sacrifice:

" I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name." (Isaiah 65:1)

This prophecy is fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Love is easy, then, because it was done of us infinitely and eternally. How is this so?

Refer back to the apostle John's first epistle:

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:15-16)

"God is love" He is not an impersonal force, but a Person infinitely interested in us, working through us, doing great things that we release by faith:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)

Therefore, this Love working is us emboldens to anything that He calls us to do:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

"As He is, so are we" -- He is love! Therefore, as you walk in faith, you radiate His love!

Again, what prompts this love to flow through us?

"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) The original text does not contain the word "him". In truth, we love -- PERIOD -- because He first loved us!

So, do not try to love. Trying in your own might only precipitates a fall from grace, the very power by which we can do all things.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4)

How exactly does "trying to love" fit in with the law, and thus our attempt to keep this law leads to a fall from grace?

"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

"This is the first and great commandment.

"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22: 34-40)

All the Law, all the Prophets, hang on "Love thy neighbor" (literally, the one nearest you, not just the one who lives next to you), and "Love the Lord thy God" with everything you have.

Can anyone of us love God with "all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"? No! Absolutely not! Jesus Christ magnified the Law and the Prophets to their proper standard, an impossible one for mankind.

Yet by the atoning death of Jesus Christ, wiping away once and for all the stain of sin, forever reconciling us to His Father, we are then empowered to love, by the power of the Holy Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22)


"Te love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

So, love is a fruit of the Spirit, which He bears in us, which we receive and release by faith.

Yet what's wrong with trying to love, anyway?

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

"Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5: 19-21)

Here, "flesh" speaks of any effort through the body and the mind. If we do anything through our own power instead of relying on the grace of God in us, it will only produce all manner of evil. Even if we will to do the good or the right thing, it will still only produce weak and beggarly elements, dead works which profit nothing:

"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7: 21-25)

In the last verse, Paul speaks to the mind of Christ, which is formed in every believer:

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)

However, we still possess a fleshly intellect, one which wars with the Spirit of God within us. Our body, our members are still fallen, not regenerated when we are born again.

So, every believer faces the temptation not so much expressly to sin, but to live from one's flesh, to try in one's own might to be obedient.

We love because He first loved us. He works in us to receive His love and release His love to others. However, because we still inhabit broken bodies, a reprobate mind, and live in a fallen world, the temptation remains to try and love, to try and forgive, and thus activate the flesh within ourselves and fall short of God's gracious and glorious ideal.

So, beloved, do not try to love. Magnify God and His love by faith and faithful meditation on the Word of God, and watch Him work wonders in your life.

Love is easy -- Because God is, God is for you, God is in you, and God does all things through us by faith -- So stop working so hard!

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