Laura Rennie

Love in essence...

Laura R.Comment

This living water will not quench us if it's watered down. It's not our place to hide again this treasure that we've found. We might as well just fold our hands if we can't call a spade a spade, 'cause we will miss the heart each time if we won't ever shoot them straight.

This song is about the temptation to dress down the gospel and the danger that lies in doing so.

It's also dangerous to dress down our calling as believers - and there is a LOT that we are called to do! According to Matthew 22:36-40, loving God and loving others should be our top priorities. You know how in "A Scarlet Letter" the main character is forced to wear a symbol of her sin for all to see? Christians should be easily identified by a badge of love -  a symbol NOT for how we feel about someone, but a symbol for our willingness to sacrifice for that person.

I recently attended a study on spiritual growth. We discussed the attributes listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7: knowledge, virtue, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. And then there are verses 8 and 9...which are SO incredibly convicting..."For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins."

We talked about how these attributes build upon one another, with love being the very last (and most important) "step." Without love, you are ineffective. You are unfruitful. You are a clanging cymbal. Essentially, you are straight up WHITE NOISE to whoever you are attempting to witness to.

We will miss the heart each time if we won't ever shoot them straight.

I came across a post on agape love (sacrificial love - the kind of love that God desires us to have) that really convicted me. I hope it will speak to you, too.
(side note: while I agree with many of the points I've read on this site, please do not view this author's word as Truth - filter everything through Scripture - and feel free to contact me if you have questions.)

Agape love is not about feeling good but doing good - treating people as God has treated to us in Christ.

According to Jesus, agape love is the distinguishing mark of the church: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). We do not allow the errors and excesses of others to excuse our own behavior. We do not allow our feelings to prevent us from treating people right. We practice the discipline - and it is indeed a discipline - of agape love. This will keep us busy enough without having to condemn others: Love in essence is not a matter of how we feel about people, but how we treat them... (this blew my mind. Such an obvious truth, yet not something we really think about. If we were to spend our energy loving others, we wouldn't have much energy left to judge them). It can be said with confidence at the outset, and also at any subsequent stage on the road, that learning to love all the different sorts of people whom God sends across our path, in all the different sorts of situations he shapes up for us and them, is going to prove the hardest discipline we shall ever face.
- Thomas Howard and J. I. Packer, Christianity: The True Humanism

In order to live this way, we must "deny self and take up our cross daily and follow Christ. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24). This way of life will directly oppose our self-centeredness, but it will also, at the same time, open us to new life, God's life (this is why love can be so hard - it requires humility). Above all other expressions of love, agape allows us to transcend ourselves for the good of others. It exposes our selfishness and draws us out of our shells to love others, no matter what it takes.

Is agape love a quality others easily identify in you? Is your love for others increasing?