Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

21 Love is Part 6

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1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable”

The third pair of negative love killers are:

  • Selfishness

Our society confuses love with lust. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward our selves. It is utterly unselfish. The heart that is so consumed with its own interests cannot show concern for the needs and interests of others. Selfishness creates shortsightedness in our lives because it is all about self and that is all it wants to see. True love is willing and able to sees others because it views them as more important. This means that love is not out to get all it can for itself, no matter what the cost, love is driven by giving not receiving.  Agape love goes against our natural inclinations to put self-first. It is possible to practice this love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. The goal of a person that loves will not be to seek things for himself. Jesus demonstrated a love that was not self-seeking, and the entire mission of His life pointed away from self and to others. The One who had it all gave it all, why, to benefit us, it was for our good. When he was tempted in the wilderness Satan offered Jesus an easy way out, he encouraged Him to avoid the cross with its pain and the suffering. Satan urged Jesus to replace sacrifice with self and demonstrate His power and prove who He was. Satan said worship me and I’ll give it all to you free, but Jesus was not interested in His own glory, but ours. His focus was for people to be free from sin and empowered to love each other. So he rejected the self-seeking way of riches and glory and took the way of the cross for us. Jesus didn’t go around charging for his healings, there was the woman who spent all her money trying to be well but Jesus just healed her. There was no cost to her but there was to Him, it says that power went out from Him, love gives so others can receive. Using His power to feed the hungry people by multiplying the loaves and fish, he didn’t sell them to people, he gave them. The truth is that someone who could turn stones into bread could make a fortune running a bakery, but Jesus doesn’t. He was never out for his own gain, but lived His life to benefit us. Are we like this, or are we in it to get all we can for us? Is our lifestyle one of accumulating and keeping everything we can or are we using what we have to help others? Today we need to evaluate the claims we make as Christians and contrast them against the actions of His selfless walk. Part of love not being selfish means that it does not manipulate and used others to get its own way, there can be no “I’ll love you if…” in agape love. Jesus taught that the highest happiness is found in giving not getting so love does not derive pleasure from things that would cause a weaker believer to stumble, even though you think you have a right to. Real love will look beyond its own interests and embrace the concerns of others. It will turn a blind eye to self and see others through its focus on the Savior. In our culture we have made life about the pursuit of self-happiness yet a supreme regard for your own happiness is inconsistent with His love. Love is free from the bonds of selfish and has a spirit of liberality, so today go give something valuable away, be selfless with love.

  • Anger
  • The next ingredient in the spectrum of love is that love it is not easily angered. The word that is used means “exasperated, irritated, touchy, a sharpness of spirit that is aroused to resentment.” Real love is not easily provoked and driven to anger because real love deals with the disappointment and pain as it absorbs and diffuses them. Anger threatens us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally permeating every area of our lives. It is not a static thing but a moving and growing monster that consumes as it progresses from irritation to indignation as the waves of wrath, fury and rage crash against the very shores of our life.  Anger is not content to move in and live in a corner of your life, it desires to consume and change, to take over the God given moments of your life, to dominate your days and rob you blind.  Love also wants to consume and change our lives but unlike anger that wants to short change and cheat us love desires to overflow our lives, giving instead of taking. Where anger is the consuming fire of ruin, love is the consuming fire that refines. When it comes to anger our differing personalities and backgrounds lead us to respond in many different ways and it’s interesting to see how we judge others while justifying ourselves. When it comes to anger some of us are microwaves that instantly cook as we heat yet we seem to cool down just as quick. Others of us are like crockpots which just slowly simmer and simmer over a very long time, never quite blowing the top off, but not cooling down either, always being hot. While still others of us are the pressure cookers, which just keep stuffing it all in believing that our secure lid will hold it all in, until it doesn’t and we just can’t hold it anymore and “thar she blows”! We are tempted to look at a bad temper as a minor weakness, but that’s just a willingness to be deceived. A quick temper and a touchy disposition can be the one blot on an otherwise noble character. The sin of the otherwise noble elder brother of the prodigal son in Luke 15:, was that “he became angry.” How many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unloving character of those who profess to be inside? The great enemies of peace are those things that permeate our lives and produce pain instead of permeating our lives to promote peace. We can be inhabited by the great destroyers of life, anger, ambition, envy and pride or be delivered by love. What is consuming your life and dominating your days? Which fire is burning in your heart, the anger of ruin or the refining love of redemption?

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