LOVE- Paul walked in love. Not love as we sometimes know it but I think love as Jesus defined it and walked. Not only did he walk in this love though, he hoped and expected that we should walk in that love as well. Just as Christ loved us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul loved us (each of us/the church-you can tell that from what he writes) and expected that love in return…but considered that when he didn’t get it to have entered into the suffering of Christ. He had relationship with God so intimate that He could be a true empty vessel for Christ to show love but also to experience pain for His cause. What kind of love did Jesus walk? That question to myself took me straight to 1 Corinthians 13 where that love is defined. We have read it hundreds of times but this time I read it in the Amplified Bible and where I have often almost patted myself on the back thinking I had this love thing down pat. I got to these next verses and there I found conviction. vs. 5 Love (Gods love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. Then vs. 7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening] How to walk in Christ no matter what. You know for the words “Grace and Peace” the Amplified Bible says “Grace (favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father the the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” I liked that and am really learning a lot from the Amplified during this season of my life. Anyway, I think if the church could walk in true love…the Divine Love of Jesus Christ and our Father…then we would have NO LIMITS. It is the greatest commandment. I believe that the presence of God and God’s glory will be manifested when we are sitting in unity with each other and are vessels of that Divine Love both inside but also outside of our four walls. Then we will see miracles, signs, wonders, revelation, obedience, deep relationship, true freedom and incredible manifestations as an everyday occurrence. We will not look on ourselves proudly or boast in our sufferings but look on our sufferings as the ultimate act of worship for our Lord. WOW! I would like to experience such a church.
FEAR – There is good fear and not so good fear. Fear of the Lord is essential. In Hebrew one definition of fear was AWE. I use the word awesome all the time but have I really experienced awe. Sitting at Hatteras looking at the ocean and thinking about how God said to that ocean…”this far and no further”…I feel true awe. Awe moves you. Not necessarily a physical move but could be…definitely a move on the inside. Fear defined as caution may be healthy fear. I fear guns in the hands of children. I fear poisonous snakes or people driving wrecklessly. Healthy fear though is not all consuming. Then there is that other kind of fear. If fear can be defined as awe then perhaps it can also be defined as worship. Anything that we fear or obsess over we worship. If we fear what others think of us then we fear man and are worshipping man. If we fear the financial situations then we are worshiping money. If we fear death then who are we are worshiping?
COMPLAINING AND ARGUING – Says in 2:14 to do everything without complaining or arguing. Do not complain or argue. That is directed at the church and is great advice. Sometimes we tend to complain and think our complaining is justified because we think we know something that others don’t, but these are never acceptable. Sometimes we argue and call it debating or bantering and I have seen more than one church split due to what started as arguing that someone called banter. When you get to vs. 15 it says why he wants you not to do that… I know that God has said to me on more than one occasion, “STOP arguing with ME. I only want to change you for good.” Isn’t it always amazing how much you can learn when you stop arguing with God?