Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Love can mean many things to many people. If you ask a person what love is, I’m sure they will have their own list. If you ask a person how they feel loved, I’m sure the list would be even longer. “I feel loved when my husband buys me flowers” or “I feel loved when my wife listens to me”. Even children can have their own ideas “I feel loved when my parents or friends give me things”. To a teenage girl who has not received parental love in her childhood or any love for that matter, love to her may be when a boy pays any attention to her or has sex with her. Now, you fill in the blank. How do you feel loved? “I feel loved when…”. Sometimes how we see love and how God sees love are two different things or as far as the east is from the west.
Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 what love is and if you read the chapter, he makes it even clearer that if we don’t have love, “it profits me nothing” (vs. 3). You can speak in tongues, you can have the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and even have faith to move mountains, but if you don’t have love, you are nothing (vs. 1 and 2). You can even give everything to the poor and give your body to be burned, but if you don’t have love, it profits you nothing (vs. 3). Why is that? Isn’t it our way of thinking that if we do something good it’s because we love? Apparently not always. What’s the old saying? “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian”. Doing all these things and more doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing it with love. Due to different situations, our ideas along the way about love have been misconstrued. It’s all about the heart and not about what we receive from others or what they do for us or doing wonderful things. God knows the truth about our hearts. He knows what we seek to make ourselves feel better…feel loved. We have to be able to know the difference between surface love and true love. Do you know the difference between the two? Surface love is love that makes us feel good and though there is nothing wrong with that, it won’t withstand the test of time in a relationship. If we stay with God because of what He can give to us, we won’t be able to withstand the trials that come our way. We will think He just doesn’t love us anymore because bad things happen or we aren’t receiving what we want in prayer. If we stay in a relationship with someone because of what they can give us, how they are towards us and are sweet all the time, what happens when the storms hit that relationship whether friendship, dating or marriage? Do you become frustrated and bail out or do you stick it out for the long haul? True, there are relationships that are damaging and shouldn’t remain together, but then there are those that are going through the tests and trials and if the person is a good person but the trials are tough, this is where true love comes in. The main scripture above is what true love is all about and sometimes it can be hard to do but not when you include God in the picture. When we look at God’s relationship with man, we see true love though we anger Him and test Him all the time. He created us out of love, desiring a relationship with us but we are the ones who constantly turn away and seek other people and other things to fill what we feel is missing within us. God will never force Himself upon us but He will keep knocking on the doors of our hearts. He will keep showing us love in ways and seeking us out and He will be there when we realize He is really what we are looking for. God love is a true love, not a surface love where He loves us one day and is mad at us the next and cuts us out of His life because we’ve upset Him. Has this every happened to you with someone or have you ever done it to someone? That’s not the way relationships are meant to work, nor is love meant to work that way. When we read the Bible, we see how love is suppose to be through the examples in the Old Testament with God and the New Testament with Christ. I’m sure we can be pretty frustrating to Him when He only wants to love us and bless us and we won’t allow Him into our lives or we allow very little of Him like when we want something. Think about a time where you had a relationship with someone but the more you tried to be in their lives just to love them and were even good to them, the more they pushed away and sought out others who treated them worse. Kind of makes you go hmmmmmm. But that’s what God goes through on a daily basis with us. His love is a true love, not a surface love.
As we look at our world today, we are seeing the opposite of love on a daily basis and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In Matthew 24:12, Christ was describing what we can expect in the end times and stated:
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
To understand this, we must first take a look at the word “lawlessness”. Biblically another word for lawlessness is wickedness as we see in the NIV version of the Bible. The dictionary gives the following definition: without regard for the law, unrestrained. It can also mean chaos, confusion, disorder and terrorism. This makes sense because what happens when we see crimes committed on a daily basis? What happens when we are subject to verbal and physical abuse in our homes on a daily basis? What happens when we encounter critical, negative people who get away with doing wrong things on a daily basis? We become angry and bitter the more we are subjected to it. We may not realize it at first, but soon we become less and less caring, loving and compassionate. We become less forgiving and more unforgiving. We isolate ourselves and don’t even bother trying to love and forgive anymore and soon we find ourselves as Christ describes…our love has grown cold.
In case you haven’t noticed, the love of many are growing cold each day. Read the paper, look online, listen to the news, walk the streets, look in your own homes and at work. What do you see and hear? Is there forgiveness? Is there compassion? Is there patience? Is there endurance? Yes, there are still good people out there who are exhibiting true love, Praise the Lord! Why are they able to exhibit true love amidst the worst conditions and circumstances? Because they stay close to God, they pray and read His word daily, they take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). They realize that anything opposite of what God tells us to do is either of the enemy or the flesh and they strive to adhere to the Word of God. Do they ever feel anger? Sure, but they do not allow it to consume them but they surrender it to God instead.
Look at the checklist Paul has given to us. Where are you compared to this checklist? Are you on track, do you have some work to do or has love left your heart and anger and bitterness has instead made moved in. If that’s the case, you have some work to do. These days the biggest movie craze is about zombies. Sometimes we have to take a closer look at these fads because they can reveal some truth. What is a zombie? The dictionary states a zombie is “the body of a dead person given the semblance of life by a supernatural force”. Really? Lets look at this in the spiritual sense now. What happens when we become spiritually dead? We no longer have love, forgiveness, compassion, patience, etc, all the things that God is. We are no longer lawful spiritually and sometimes even physically. We become angry, prideful, hateful, spiteful, looking out only for ourselves and attack those closest to us. Maybe it’s not extreme…yet…but it will be if we don’t realize it and do something about it. There are so many “zombies” walking around today, people who appear to be normal but inside they are spiritually dead, loveless, lifeless just going from one place to the next and simply existing. They have become infected by the bite of other people…the bite meaning negative words and comments or even physical abuse. Do you know someone like this? Someone infected by the bite of another person or persons. They cant’ get past it and seem to dwell on it constantly, unable to “get better” or “heal”. Is this you? What I’ve described, is it that much different from the zombie movies we see?
If you see yourself as this person, one who has been bitten and infected by the harsh words or actions of others, there is a doctor who can help named Jesus Christ and the antidote is love. Once you receive love from Him, your infection will heal and you will be revived, but you must take His medicine daily to become completely healed and you can’t skip a dose or a day. Sometimes in order to heal from an infection we must take an antibiotic, nourish our bodies, rest, and cleanse the wound daily. We do this through the Word of God. You must follow the directions in the Word of God in order to completely heal. If you stop taking the medicine of the word before you are healed, you may regress and get worse. You must finish the medicine of the Word completely. Then to maintain that healing and to live a long, healthy life, you must continue reading the Word of God for nourishment and continue applying the Word to your every day life and to every wound you receive. It’s amazing how quickly the wounds will disappear or may not even occur at all because the Word of God is also preventive medication.
So where are you today? Do you have an infection that needs to be healed? Have you been bitten by others words and actions and feel yourself slowing getting sicker? Friend, I am quickly sending you to the emergency room of the throne of God and telling you to seek out Dr. Jesus. He is a true miracle worker! Make sure you follow His directions and take every does of the Word of God and then continue to maintain yourself once you are healed. It is the only sure way to cure the infection of the bite you received and then maintain optimum health so that when you are bit again, you will not be affected by the infection it is meant to cause. The enemy wants you infected and dead, but Christ wants you healed and alive to be able to help others in this dark world. He needs you healthy to be able to do His work. If you feel your infection of the heart is bad, seek out a prayer partner, Christian counselor or Pastor/Priest to pray with you and guide you, but Jesus is the ONLY one who can cure you.
Lets pray together now for your healing:
Jesus, I come to you sick with an infection of the heart. I have been bitten many times by others and the infection is not healing. I seek you my Lord to heal me of this illness so I can be well and do the work you have called me to do. Lord, I ask that you cure my infection of…..(anger, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, etc) and fill my heart with Love. I want to be alive again with love in my heart for others. Help me to forgive as you forgive, love as you love, show compassion as you show compassion. I can’t do this on my own Lord, I need your help. Let love course through my veins so I can be healed and show love to others. Help me to do exactly as your Word say so I can be healed and maintain that healing. Be my shield and defense during my time of spiritual illness, protecting me from the attacks of the enemy. Jesus, I don’t want my love to grow cold so I ask that you warm my heart. Help me to have a heart like yours so I can share your love with others. Lord, thank you for hearing my prayers. Your Word says when we pray, and believe, we will receive. I have prayed, I believe and I know I have received. I ask this all in the name of Jesus…Amen.