Sooooo…in this season of my châzaq (see my previous post), every teaching, reading, song, and Holy Spirit whisper seems to speak of one thing: love. Not the “I looovvve ((COFFEE))” type of love…or the love I have for sister-girlfriends…or even the parent-love I have for our kiddos…God has been talking to me about Agape love…what I call “Lord Love.”
This type of love collides with our common sense and human judgement. It sees beyond masks and reaches beyond appearances and behaviors. It knows no boundaries and is the most powerful and effective and influential tool a Christian has access to possess and use. Like any other gift and Godly character trait beyond salvation, Lord Love must be accessed, possessed, developed, and activated.
Here’s the sad truth…for all the numbers in man’s history who have received the work of Jesus unto salvation, I’m guessing that a sobering, small percentage have moved far beyond the assurance and into the abundance. Let that ruminate a minute if you are offended and resonate a minute if you are convicted…
This love…what is often referred to as “unconditional love”…is a love feast, charity in its translation. Well, what do we know about charity? It is not what our American culture has made it…giving to others what we are comfortable giving…what we feel like giving…when we feel like it…when it makes us feel good…when it makes us look good (ouch)…when the emotion of a circumstance or tragedy is strong and fleeting…on our terms. No, if we look at the ministry of Jesus – Who is the living Agape – charity love is giving others what they need instead of what we want to give. Charity is seeing beyond those masks and behaviors of other human beings, who were created in the image of God, and into their brokenness, their deepest needs. It is recognizing their need for healing, hearing their life’s groaning for a Savior, caring more about their eternal freedom than our own temporary comfort.
Charity is not convenient and is not comfortable (at first) because it requires us to look beyond the perimeter of “me” and into the soul of another. Just as Jesus did, it may require us to go to the person in need. Charity doesn’t say, “Call me if you need help” or “Go to so-and-so to get this-and-that.” No. Jesus sought out those who had need and met them right where they did life. He extended Himself into the lives of broken people and gave Himself to their greatest need.
Jesus delivered the leper with a touch…something the afflicted man had not experienced in YEARS and probably craved deeply. He not only came close and talked to the leper, but He reached out His own hand and touched the man with tenderness and healing. (Mark 1:35-42)
Jesus delivered the woman at the well with living water. She thought her thirst was physical and practical, but Jesus revealed to her that her true thirst was spiritual and radical. He drew from the well of charity love and satiated her soul with forgiveness and acceptance. (John 4:1-26)
Jesus delivered the grieving mother with the resurrected life of her son. He saw her great grief and was moved to command life take over where death had staked a claim. He reached into this widow’s greatest, deepest level of grief and flooded her with compassion that does more than feel, but does. (Luke 7:11-15)
Faith. Hope. Love. Why is the greatest of these “love?” Well, because love is eternal.
Good News: In Christ, when we are translated from this world into the presence of God, faith and hope will be fulfilled, but love will remain. In the fullness of His presence, love will be mature and eternally lived.
Fatal News: Without Christ, those who are translated from this world receive the wages of their sin by spending forever upon forever separated from the presence of God…and the full knowledge and torment and punishment that they are separated from Him by their own choice. The opportunity for faith is expired. Hope is bankrupted. Love – on creation’s account – is overdrawn.
Love God. ((Our greatest need is Jesus.))
Lord-Love others. ((Their greatest need is Jesus.))