Saturday, May 1, 2010

Without It, You are NOTHING!

I took the opportunity last night to share an entry from the Love Dare book in the fellowship. Although Love Dare is catered mostly to married couples, it touches on the minimum requirement of the Christian life. It's something more important than words, for when one speaks without it, he will be like a "gong" or a "clanging cymbal." It's also more important than knowledge, if you know all the mysteries of the world or have memorized the Bible from cover to cover, but if you still live without this, you are NOTHING. What surprises me is that, it is even better than faith that can move mountains or riches that are given to the poor!

What is this "it" then that I'm talking about? It's LOVE (as in Love Dare, duh! Haha!). Let me share with you one of the most beautiful and poetic descriptions of love:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, 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.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ~

An illustration for love. Jesus need not leave his heavenly kingdom and experience poverty, hunger and ridicule as a servant on earth. But He was willing. He needed to die, because it would take only a perfect man's blood to pay for all our debts. He opted to die on the cross for the mockers, adulterers, liars, prideful people, murderers, abusive husbands, disobedient teenagers, lustful men, disgraceful women, and all other sinners of this world including you and me.

Sometimes we see love as sacrificing our lives for others, but we tend to forget what love is in its everyday sense. How do you respond to your irritating little brothers? How do you talk to your parents? How do you deal with your bossy bosses? How do you react to friends who misunderstood you? Are there some people in your lives that you abhor, that you talk behind their backs? You may say, you are willing to die for others. But for now, reflect on your relationships with people around you, is there love? Or are you full of hate, bitterness, anger and complaints?

Love is built on two pillars "patience" and "kindness." All other traits stem from these two. Patience is reacting positively to a negative situation, choosing to not say anything hurtful (or negative) to someone who is overly irritating or hurtful. Patience is taking time to meditate, to ponder, to understand the situation before letting go of angry words. It is maintaining ones' coolness on a heated situation. Surely, a negative situation is a great tempter that aims to bring out the angry beasts in us. And if we give in to anger, it will just make matters worse.

Kindness is love in action. If patience reacts in order to minimize a negative situation, kindness acts to maximize positive circumstance. Kindness can be broken down into four basic ingredients: gentleness, helpfulness, willingness and initiative. Gentleness is to be careful on how to treat the other person, to be tender in words and action. Helpfulness is meeting the needs of the moment. Willingness inspires you to be agreeable. And initiative thinks ahead, takes the first step, it doesn't wait to be prompted before acting kindly.

How do we know that we do love?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

If we do not have patience, how can we lay down our lives for our brothers? How can we love? Impossible.

* Josh McDowell shared three types of love that this world has ever known.

1. "I love you, if.."
This is the most popular type of love when one has to meet certain requirements or conditions before they are loved. A dad may say "I love you, if you are a good boy." or a girl may say "I love you if you change and become like Bob." This is a very selfish type of love.

2. "I love you, because.."
This sounds a lot better than the first type. This love is given because of certain characteristics. The husband may love a wife because she is pretty and is a good cook. But then comes competition. Once there's a woman prettier than his wife, he would most likely leave his wife and pursue the woman who is PRETTIER and a BETTER cook. This is still a selfish type of love.

3. "I love you, FULL STOP."
Good thing, there's still a third type of love! This love can only be experienced by a complete and fulfilled individual - one who doesn't have to take from life's relationships to fill the voids in his or her own life. This is ONLY possible when Christ is able to fill your life on the inside that you feel free to give without demanding something in return. This is a CONDITION-LESS rather than an unconditional love. Ever since we rebelled against God, our ability to love unconditionally has been affected. Only through faith in Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him can we be able to experience a love that is FULL STOP or condition-less.

Difference between love and lust?
Love cannot wait to give.
Lust cannot wait to get.

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