The Challenge of Christianity…to Love

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass Baptism

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass Baptism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 20 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? 21 The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.   1 John 4:19-21 (MSG)

Jesus will enable you to have a great affection for everybody you meet, without taking away any of the affection you have for him. On the contrary, the more you love Jesus, the more room there will be for other people in your heart.  (1)

In my opinion, the greatest challenge to Christianity in America today comes down to one word:  Love.

We struggle with it, we avoid it, we avoid the very challenge of it, because it is universal.  It is not just loving those who love us.  Jesus says even the worst sinners can do that.  But it is loving people – and letting God love us when we are at our worst.

Loving others is a threat. A threat to our self-determination, a threat to our independence, a threat to our sin.  It is uncomfortable, for it demands that we sacrfice ourselves, before we realize that in that sacrifice, we find ourselves fulfilled.  Loving others is not a command of law, where our failure brings condemnation.  Loving others is a command of gospel – wherein we find the deepest levels of grace, and the greatest fulfillment.  Even so, it is difficult.

But that is where God’s love comes into play.  He doesn’t allow us to wallow in our sin, to hide in our independence, and self-determination and self centeredness.  He invades our life, calling us to a transformation that comes from being in His presence.  We can try and run from our relationship with Him, as Jonah ran from the people God called him to love- to love by sacrificing his life that they would know God’s love and mercy.  Even so, we are much better off in every way by receiving the love He invades with, the love that He invades by.

Don’t avoid His love – it will make loving the others He has brought into our lives so much easier!

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3094-3096). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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