1 Timothy 1:5 – “But the goal of our instruction is love [which springs] from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” “Amplified
A few nights ago, throughout the night, my thoughts were on Loving Others with a Pure Heart. As I prayed and mused on that subject, the thoughts kept coming to mind that objective would be a human impossibility without first Loving God with our ALL (Heart, mind, soul, strength). Had that been the end of my consideration and thought, then I would have awakened depressed and distressed, but there was more.
I felt that the Holy Spirit was opening my mind to the reality that if we do not have that kind of relationship with God and receive His Unconditional Love and have it infused in us it is IMPOSSIBLE to love others with purity. What happens is we allow our own preferences, views, biases, and desires to get in the way and block that kind of love.
I have instructed congregations that we are to Love as Jesus loved only to be told – “That’s not possible because Jesus was God, and we are human.” Seriously! Yes, Jesus was and is God, but EVERYTHING He did on planet earth was as man, otherwise, His death on the Cross was meaningless to anyone but the Godhead. He came AS man and FOR man. He is our example and ONLY as we embrace His Mercy with the balance of His Holiness, Justice, Righteousness, and Purity can we enter into His presence and find His purpose and power in our lives.
I have some acquaintances who have created a god and doctrines out of their need for justification of their own deficiencies. They only focus on God’s Mercy without the balance of His Holiness. They have rejected the idea of hell and eternal punishment for those who reject God’s Mercy and Grace and live outside His demand for Holiness and Righteousness. Do we fall short? Of course, but we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. However, if we keep falling short in the same things that becomes a lifestyle rather than a momentary failure and that places us in a state of rebellion.
To demand that God, ignore our rebellion would be to make God a human creation and transform Him into our image rather than us being transformed into His image. His call is ALWAYS Higher! We dare not attempt to bring Him down to our level. Therefore, to Love others is only possible when we follow the Greatest Command to Love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, mind, soul, and strength. When we do that, then the Love of God permeates our being, and we are then able to Love our Neighbor as ourselves.
How we love ourselves rightly, is rooted in Loving God rightly and completely. Otherwise, we may find ourselves filled with self-rejection and loving others that way would be to hate them not love them. The ONLY way we can love others rightly is to Love God Completely. Love is never an emotion it is an action.
Jesus said, in John 14:34 – “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.” In 1 John 4:20, the apostle John declared, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” In 1 John 4:7, we read, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
In Mark 12:28-34 we have the encounter between Jesus and one of the teachers of the law. Jesus was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important or greatest?” His answer was the heart of what I am declaring and the heart of the Christian life. Jesus said, “Number one is to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Without that the Number two is impossible for man. He said that the next greatest was to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”
I have known some people and have experienced some dark times when attempting to love others as they loved themselves. I have experienced some bitter disappointments as well. If some loved others as they loved themselves, it would not be love and certainly not love out of a pure heart. We are living in a world filled with hate and it becomes more hate-filled every day. Much of the world and too much of the church have abandoned the commandments of Jesus regarding Love. We try to justify our animosity, but if and that is the key “if” we love God with ALL our heart, mind, soul, and strength that love will so permeate our being that Love for others is a natural response.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He loved then, loves now, and will love forever! If Christ is IN us and the Love of God fills our heart, then we will LOVE even when it hurts and disappoints. The Love Chapter, as it is called 1 Corinthians 13 is applicable. There is no excuse for not loving as Jesus loved because we have His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and through Him the New Birth, which makes us a New Creation. You may be only human, but you have been transformed if Christ is in you.
God is Love! God is Mercy! God is Holy! God is Righteous! God is Just! God is Pure! The life that we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God. It is Christ IN us! Repentance is in order and to repent means to do a 180-degree turn and go in the opposite direction. We may not find loving easy, but it is possible and like everything else requires commitment and discipline. Father forgive, me for I have fallen short and ask that you help me to be transformed.
May God be with you as you go through this day walking in Love!