Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ye old love chapter...

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7

Sometimes, I think as Christians, we become so calloused to this section of Scripture. It’s read at 90% of the weddings we attend, it’s plastered on the walls of our bookstores, and preached regularly from the pulpit. Our eyes roll and we mentally check out as our pastors describe what true love is defined by… patience, kindness, and selflessness. We know love, we love love. But, I want you to bear with me for a few moments; hopefully we can see these verses in a different light, one that illuminates a place in our hearts that so desperately must be exposed.

Often times, we characterize the opposite of love as hate. It makes sense, at least, that’s what we have been told makes sense. But, I think in the context of relationships (friendships, mentorships, marriage, etc.), that the opposite of love is lust. Now, lust is a strong word with a strong connotation. Most of us assume that lust is directly speaking towards sexual desire. Yes, this is an accurate definition, but it is also more simply defined by dear old Webster as “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving”.

Now, for a quick moment, let’s define biblical love, based on Scripture. Biblical loves is patient, kind, confident, modest, humble, respectful and gentle, selfless, cheerful; it keeps no record of wrongdoings or faults, rejoices with truth, never gives up, never loses faith, is hopeful and endures. Naturally, we can assume that what is opposite of these characteristics is what defines lust. Lust is impatient, hateful, jealous, boastful, proud, rude and harsh, selfish, irritable; it keeps record of wrongdoings and faults, rejoices with injustice, gives up, loses faith, is hopeless and wavers.

Do you recognize these qualities in any of your relationships? A friendship or a marriage that is marked by lust is one that is unhealthy, and most importantly, unbiblical.

Are you impatient with your boyfriend/girlfriend as they guard your purity, saving sex for marriage, pressuring them to throw in the towel? Are you constantly keeping tally of your husband’s/wife’s faults? Are you jealous as your friends pursue other friendships, gain new jobs, get married, or have children? Are you blind to wise characteristics and decisions in another simply out due to your own impatience and frustration? And again, this not only applies for those who are dating, engaged or married, this applies to all relationships that require love. (And I am hoping that your friendships, mentorships, etc. are requiring love!)

It is hard to admit a relationship that is built upon lust. It is not easy to create friendships and marriages that exude biblical love. It is our human nature to lust, to reject the love that has been freely given to us. It is through His sacrifice that we see the beauty of biblical love. Our capability to love is measured by the Cross. As Scripture states: 

“We love each other because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19

Do you love others in your life, truly? Or are you becoming overcome by your own cravings ad desires? Are you allowing the roots of lust to grow deep in the crevices of your heart, or are you allowing love to plant itself in your relationships? What is hindering you from loving others? What lust has enticed you? 

Friends, I pray encourage you to begin examining your relationships, taking inventory of those that are cultivating love or lust. Yes, it will be painful, but you are saving yourself from an even severe pain and a possible foothold of chronic sin in your life. 

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