“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What love isn’t

We said love verifies. That is to say that it doesn’t just throw itself into the arms of everyone who professes to love it. And I believe that God has special pleasure in those who aren’t easy catches, who He must follow for a long time because they need much time to verify His claim to love them. Love is closely bound with faith. Deep love must try the object of its endeavors. The Bereans were noble for verifying the person they might trust in. Don’t we want to be noble?

There is no such thing as a “leap of faith.” Real faith is not blind. We don’t have to give our love to strangers. Real faith tests and holds a reserve until its object is tried and proven true. Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matt. 7:16). If there is no leap of faith, then there is to be no leaps of love. Love without reservations is foolishness. Blind love is no love at all.

Let’s talk about the expression of love. Love without inhibitions is filled with self. Extravagant love, uncontrollable love, has ulterior motives. Its object is to so bring the receiver into indebtedness to an outpouring from the flagrant lover that possessiveness is the real cause and purpose of the rendition. Love without boundaries is only selfish and self-serving.

When the eye is kept single to the glory of God, audacious “love” is offended. “What?” says the flamboyant lover, “You don’t like my style of love? You judge me?” But bombastic love is all about “me”, and those who know the selflessness of God detect the self-centeredness of that mutant variation of love.

Jealousy waits on the wing of this malignant perversion of real love. Since God is not loved supremely, the love that the mere human heart can create is that likened to “an imperious whorish woman.” (Jer. 16:30).

“Behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)” (Prov. 7:10-12).

Everyone who can’t accept the requirements of true love to be quiet, self-abasing, and reserved are not reconciled to God’s Law, thus are not reconciled to God. Despite the greatest profession to the contrary, their works prove the real condition of an unconverted heart.

True love can only come from a heart surrendered to God’s love. Only love begets love; gracious love to the proud heart. Solely by believing in God’s grace, in the face of all of our sinfulness, can we really love—love God and love man.

When divine grace has done its work in transforming our selfish human heart, then we may take that grace and bring it to all those around us. Redeeming love becomes the new tune in our heart, and grace our new equipment for catching the proud souls we meet.

Human love may not love the untrusted, but grace will. Grace will develop trust in those who haven’t proven themselves trustworthy. Grace may at times need to stand apart from those it is seeking to uplift. Grace will be tough sometimes, as this lifting of loving-kindness toward the backslider is grievous for him to endure. But this is only a temporary arrangement until pride calms back down in the recipient and he opens the door again for grace to return to its former kindnesses and gentle admonitions.

Grace counts the cost; it begins its ministry knowing it’s in the work for the long haul. Each soul is a long-term project. There will be the times of rejection of grace’s discipline. The gluttonous, perverted heart will loathe the toughness of grace’s love until it surrenders once again to it.

Grace alone can change the heart that hates rules and restrictions; charity single-handedly will reconstruct the lawless love into faithful fidelity and honest expressions of affection. Grace humbles; grace alone can lay the pride in the dust and raise up a new person possessing the mind of Christ.

Those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. They will no longer fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God they will follow in His steps, reflect His character, and purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now love, and the things they once loved they hate. The proud and self-assertive become meek and lowly in heart. The vain and supercilious become serious and unobtrusive. The drunken become sober, and the profligate pure. The vain customs and fashions of the world are laid aside. Christians will seek not the “outward adorning,” but “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. SC p. 58.


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