I Have Not Love

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Jesus,

Help me. I have not love. At least not love enough.

Your Daughter,

Brooke

P.S.

I only love because you first loved me. Thank you…

How numerous the opportunities to kneel or to break by 10:00 in the morning! Today, the rare occasion in which the children awake me…at 6:00 no less; I choose to kneel. Sending daddy off to work; kneel again. A visit with Little E’s case manager, I kneel as the kids either obey the first time… or not. But wait, wait for it, here it comes…I bend…then break.

Crayons are given, coloring pages laid out, one book is read, and the starting of another. It is at this point it all comes unglued. I bend something mighty and the peace breaks into the very pieces which cannot be picked up.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.~John 13:34-35

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

If I am in fellowship with Christ, then shouldn’t I demonstrate love in action? Even with the provocations of three children? Instead, I bend and so went the clanging pieces of broken people clashing loud… the absence of patient love.

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People are fond of quoting the verse, “God is love.” But, C.S. Lewis rightly questions the meaning behind these words. Are we misusing these words as mere semantics for the thought that every love people express is God? Here is what Lewis has to say in this regard:

But they seem not to notice that the words “God is love” have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love. Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often something quite different: they really mean “Love is God.” They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to  be treated with great respect. ~ Mere Christianity, p. 151

God is love expressed in his three state relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then to His creation. To sustain my relationship with others I require the love of God as infused by daily filling of the Holy Spirit. The filling that I should seek and lean into through prayer and the reading and memorization of Scripture.

In the church, love is the most needed as the culmination of gifts that God has given His people: teaching, acts of service, giving, admonition, etc., are utilized. Whether preaching the gospel in our home,  to the body of Christ, or to a lost world, love is the essential key for others to see Christ in us; for others to know that we actually believe what we profess.  I realize this  especially when I have chosen to stomp my feet, dig in my heels, and demand the obedience that is required from our children as their mom.

Jerry Bridges perfectly illustrates the effects of the absence of love in the following story:

I remember hearing of one university student of whom it was said, “He can lead people to Christ, but no one wants to room with him.” Whether he could, given that immaturity of character, truly lead people to a saving knowledge of Christ may be questioned by some. But whether he could or not, it is true that a great big dose of love was needed to make him truly effective. ~ True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia

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After the kids had listened to the second story and sat there as quietly as possible in obedience I penned the note above. I need more of Christ because I need to love others more… I must choose to kneel.

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Pursuing the Holiness of Christ

John Owen said that sin carries on its war by entangling our affections (desires) and drawing them away. Hence, said Owen, denying sin must be chiefly directed on the affections. We must make sure our desires are directed toward glorifying God, he said, and not on satisfying the lusts of our bodies.

~The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges (emphasis mine)

In everything Christ did he acted with the mind of glorifying His Father in heaven. How very different would our lives look if every motive behind our actions was fueled with pursuing glory for the name of Jesus Christ? That each morning as our feet hit the floor our prayer would be, “Father show me how to most glorify you today. Let my thoughts and actions align with Your will. Let the glory that I would seek for myself quickly be repented of and pursue instead the glory for Your name.”

In fact, the more we grow in holiness, the more we need assurance that the perfect righteousness of Christ is credited to us. This is true because a part of growing in holiness is the Holy Spirit’s making us aware of our need of holiness.

The Holy Spirit makes us more aware of our lack of holiness to stimulate us to deeper yearning and striving for holiness. But Satan will attempt to use the Holy Spirit’s work to discourage us.

~The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges (emphasis mine)

The desire to pursue holiness arises from an awareness of our sin and its ultimate act against the holy God. Our sin is most offensive to God yet its ramifications reaches beyond mere acquaintances.

This is why marriage, the picture of Christ and His bride, the church, is more important than our present culture would have us believe.

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In Pursuing the Pearl: The Quest for a Pure, Passionate Marriage by Dannah Gresh she proposes that the purpose of our marriage is not to make us happy but to make us holy.

Don’t miss this.

The purpose of my marriage is to make me holy.

Know this, my friend. Satan knows all too well that the most powerful portrait of Christ’s passion is a pure and holy marriage. As Christians continue to misuse sex and succumb to divorce, the whole world comes to understand less of who God is because we understand less of His love as it was meant for us to know it within a faithful, loving, passionate marriage.

~Pursuing the Pearl: The Quest for a Pure, Passionate Marriage

In the pursuit of holiness we must not look at our brothers and sisters, those of this world or of the family of God, as the enemy. This most definitely includes our spouses. The true enemy of our holiness and of Christ Jesus is Satan.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

~Ephesians 6:12-13

The sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ on the cross covers our sins and makes us holy before God. His part is completed our portion is left to pursue.

That is what I am reading this Wednesday. What about you?

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