Sunday, March 16, 2014

Love is an action word.

1 Corinthians 13

King James Version (KJV)
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

The word, charity, here- that most of us understand as "love", actually means: affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love, a love feast.

We live in a society that has flip-flopped things around to make them mean something they do not. They have changed the word "Gay" from meaning "happy", to mean, "homosexual." As if changing that definition somehow makes that ungodly life style somehow godly and acceptable. Now, they call "hate" disagreeing with their sin and "love" agreeing with their sin.

Many of them will point to this very chapter when we disagree with their lifestyles and say, "Aren't you supposed to love me if you're a Christian? Why you hatin on me then?"

What they ignore is first of all, true love "rejoiceth NOT in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." If I love you, I cannot lie to you and say your sin is ok. I am constrained by my "brotherly love" for you, to warn you against your sin and the eternal consequences that it can bring you.

However, I want to bring this to a more personal level. When we truly love our friends, and especially, our spouses and children, we are constrained to act on their behalf- regardless of whether or not we "feel like" doing it. 

To bring the point home a little more, scripture says: "God so loved the world that he gave..." God loved us so much, than when he looked and saw our sin and our need of salvation, he acted! HE became a son, put on human flesh for us, suffered at our hand, and died for us- all so that he could "reconcile the world unto himself."

Did his flesh want to do this? No. A quick look at the prayers in the garden of Gethsemane will show you that the flesh didn't want to suffer. But, he did it anyway. Why? LOVE! He knew it had to be done and he knew he was the only one who could do it. So, he took a deep breath, gritted his teeth, and endured the suffering of the cross. All because he loved us.

There are times, in our walk with Christ, that he allows us things that please us. But, our whole life is not to be about our own pleasure. Love "seeketh not her own." Life is not about "me." Life is about serving others. If we husbands truly love our spouses, we won't mind serving them. We are the heads of our homes, but Jesus said "He that will be greatest among you will be the least." 
Another verse says that we are to "esteem others as better than ourselves."

In other words, serving our spouses is what qualifies us to be the heads of our homes. If we sit around and expect our wives and families to serve us, then we are esteeming ourselves as better and higher than them. Why do we fuss and grumble about taking out the trash, cleaning up after ourselves, and cleaning the car? Our flesh may not enjoy those activities, but if we love our families, we will do things that please and show them they are loved by us. 

We gripe and complain when our families don't respect us as the head of our homes. But, if we will do for them, then they won't mind doing for us. When we love our families, we don't look at doing what they like (and we don't like doing) as a chore. Rather, we think about the smile on their faces and the joy they will feel when we are willing to do what pleases them. 

We don't spend time with them in front of a TV or computer. They need face to face time. We don't dominate the conversation with only what interests us, we listen to what interests them, even when we aren't interested. 

Scripture commands us to love our wives EVEN AS CHRIST LOVE THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT. We must learn to die to our own wants in favor of our wives and children's needs. If I love my family, I am willing to work as hard as is necessary to take care of their needs. 

I'm thankful that the Lord has let me see my own lack of love towards my family. If this has helped you see yours, why don't you join me in turning over a new leaf. Let our actions, and not just our words, speak love to our families. No more being lazy around the house. No more hour upon hour of fleshly entertainment- at their expense. No more grumbling about chores. Let's just smile, love them, and do what is needed to prove it.