Love is a choice; a choice to completely commit yourself to another imperfect person knowing that together you bring out the best in each other. Love chooses to be “patient, kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not selfish, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… Love never fails.” (1st Corinthians 13)
We are called to pursue Agape love; the unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love of God. The only way we can experience this love is by experiencing a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. In order to truly love another, you must first understand how deeply God loves you. How else can you hope to give that love back out?
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 HCSB)
Dare to Love Differently
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?” - 1st Cor 9:24 (NLT)
Paul is directly relating to our Christian walk. Earlier in this chapter he is exhorting the Corinthian people about not doing anything to hinder the gospel. Paul was explaining that although he and Barnabas had brought so much teaching to the region, they never demanded physical payment for spiritual harvest. Rather, Paul was explaining that if this was their choice to come minister, it would be proper to ask for something in return. But in their circumstance, both Paul and Barnabas were compelled to preach the Gospel because God had put it on their hearts. It was their passion.
Paul said, “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings… All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.” - 1st Cor 9:22-23, 25-26
That prize, my friends, is our salvation.
That prize is an epic romance, an adventure of grace, and a journey to discover the heart of God.
So, as Paul urges us…
Run to win. (1st Cor 9:24)
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth,so that it might devour her child the moment he was born… This ancient serpent, the Devil and Satan; the one who deceives the whole world.” // Revelations 12:1-4,9
What’s the motivation behind abortion? It’s hard to come away from this passage without seeing who is behind our culture’s rush toward killing unborn children. Certainly, abortion is more than a political issue, it’s a highly personal situation involving crisis and tragedy on all sides. But death is Satan’s currency throughout history, his stock-in-trade. He loves to “kill and destroy,” unlike Jesus, who came that we might, “have life abundantly” ( John 10:10).
“The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10a)”
Don’t try to “Nerf” Satan. He isn’t someone to think lightly of or to taunt or ignore. No, Satan’s only goal on this Earth is to Steal our joy, kill our hope, and destroy our faith. He knows his time is coming when Jesus will cast him out and imprison him in eternal darkness, but boy he’s going to take as many humans as he can with him. I don’t understand the lighthearted nature our culture has taken to looking at sin and its wielder. As Sam so aptly said to Frodo, “He’s a villain! Why can’t you see it?!”
Our souls are at war. But this isn’t a fight we can win; in fact we already lost 2000 years ago when Adam and Eve fell. But we have hope, we have salvation, we have a future in Jesus. Jesus came into the world; not to condemn it, but to save it. Jesus told us that “I have come that you may have life and have it overflowing. (John 10:10b)” Jesus’ promise was twofold. He came to give us an abundance of life, a life so full that it overflows into those around us. Imagine pouring a pitcher of water into a sippy-cup. Overflowing. Jesus not only came to give us life, He promised to protect us from the greatest villain of our time. Hitler, Stalin, everyone pales in comparison to the evil of Satan. But in order for us to have an overflowing life, Jesus promised to protect us and fight for us.
It comes down to this. Once you accept Jesus into your heart and the Holy Spirit comes upon you, there isn’t any room for anything else. Jesus washed our souls clean. The only way a demonic forces can come back into your lives are if you invite them back in. It’s simple really; don’t engage in a lifestyle where sin can enter in and take hold. Jesus has given us so much life, why look for it anywhere else?
”Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God: trust me.” // John 14:1 (NLT)
Do you ever struggle with doubt? I know I do. Lately I’ve been dwelling on how much of my future is uncertain, how much will change in these next few years. It’s a scary feeling. But in the Bible we are told to trust in the Lord to provide us a “hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11) Normally that’s not an issue for me, God has provided abundantly in my life. But for some reason I keep looking at my future with worry and decide to tackle things on my own. I’ve been engaged now for 2 weeks and everything is finally sinking in; Where will we live, will be afford food, gas? “What If”s plague my heart.
Last night I finally told my fiance about my worry, my fear. It was a relief in and of itself, being able to tell her and have her support and encourage me. But at the end of the night I finally realized why I was having such a hard time…
I wasn’t trusting God, I was relying on myself.