TRUE Valentine LOVE
“I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].”
A new commandment…love each other as Jesus loves us.
Up until the time He spoke this, the resurrection had not yet come…and certainly that would have applied to what He said but what was He referencing at that moment?
Not only did Jesus say this He said something even more astounding….that by them loving each other in the way HE loved then ALL people would distinguish them, how? As His disciples.
What is happening in our time today…is that all over the world there is a lack of demonstrating HOW Jesus loved! How can I say that…IF they truly knew especially in our nation (America) then they would say that we are Jesus followers because OF how we behave, not just what we “say”…or “preach”!
I am reminded of the old song… “what the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”
Here is the kicker…not just “love” for the sake OF love but LOVE for one another as fellow believers! There is a distinguishing between the “love” the world knows and GOD’s demonstrated love! See, the world can show a measure of love as long as they are treated nicely.
What is it I am saying? Do you think that the disciples always got along? Okay…have you ever been on a close quarters mission trip with at least 12 people always with you?
Cannot, unfortunately always say your family because many families have mixed beliefs in them. This commandment was specific for the brethren to love one another…why? SO THE WORLD can KNOW they belong TO Jesus …are HIS learners! (that IS what disciple means…learner).
Jesus said this…
“9 I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. 10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. 11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. 12 This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends”.
HE didn’t say neighbor…HE said “friends”.
The words “lay down” is a posture of lowering not bowing (reminds me of the verse when Jesus said that we are not to think too highly of ourselves). Friends in this passage is referencing someone we are fond of.
THIS is a whole new level of friendship and love dear ones!
HOW then do we love the rest of the world that we might not “like”?
I am reminded of the story of the Samaritan…when JESUS was asked about “who IS your neighbor”. The point there is treating everyone with the same love and kindness HE has shown to us even when our very lives were “hostile” to Him and the Kingdom of Heaven!
ON the other hand…loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is entirely different. THAT love should be SO evident, that people actually say they must be Christians!
Unfortunately…CHRISTIANS are seemingly at war amongst themselves these days!
“Oh no you must be wrong Rev. Lori…” am I? Look around…most churches want to keep to themselves. Many Pastors and Ministry leaders are afraid if “their people” go elsewhere, even for a conference or to visit…that they might “lose their flock” ….REALLY? Sadly…that IS the mindset of many!
What on earth would cause such an opposite spirit than that of what JESUS told us to have towards one another?
We’ll address this in a moment…
ONE thing that is for certain…it IS why the “world” is not running TO JESUS…why would they want too when there is bickering and judging and a bunch of “rules” and regulations put forth?! NO..I am NOT even talking about the instructions/Torah otherwise known as the “law” in the bible…I am talking about the “CHURCH directives” and not those JESUS laid down.
You know, the bunch of written man made “laws” of the church…oh, each church has them!
NOT talking about the mission statements or belief statements. Many of the churches require you go through this in order to do that. OR, when someone comes in that doesn’t “look like” them (that is the cookie cutter mentality) they try to “change them”.
Grant it, throwing someone in leadership before you “know” them is not biblical either! The Word says to know those among you…but the way many churches “gauge it” is their discipleship 101 classes you must attend to prove you “know Jesus” or not.
Yes, it really is that and not at all JESUS idea! The ONLY way you can “know” someone is to …wait for it…. SPEND TIME with them! WHAT?
YEP! It means giving UP yourself, your agenda and actually getting to KNOW them!
I have visited churches that require everyone to jump through their hoops in order to even serve there. That is so dishonoring to folks coming in from other cities, states or nations that GOD has sent probably in answer to their very prayers…yet they cannot discern this at all!
I have seen churches put people in leadership based upon how many discipleship programs they have done or how long they have been attending their church and solely based upon that or some measure of “outward” good behavior instead of really knowing the person and their character! I knew some folks who had NO business in leadership because they DID lack character outside the church in their very words, actions and behavior among family!
HOW is it that the Pastor or Ministry Leaders cannot recognize or discern this? Either they themselves lack training in those areas or they are “too busy” with their stuff….or perhaps they have the same things in common with them. This might seem harsh but it IS a reality!
This said…the church as a whole is a mess!!!
If not, then why is our nation in such a mess???!!!! Hmmm…you cannot blame the lost; the lost are as lost as they can be, one cannot get more lost if they ARE lost!
The responsibility lies upon the shoulders of the church whose shoulders ultimately is JESUS…KINGDOM DOMINION remember?
The government shall be upon WHOSE shoulders?
WHO is HIS body? WHO is the HEAD? YES…GOD has a “way” of everything to operate and if we were walking in the love JESUS commanded us too…things would be much different in our nation and throughout the world!
When we “lay our lives down for one another”… it means when our brothers and sisters are in need of something we lay aside our “schedules” to help. NOW…grant it we have certain things we cannot always get out of or change in a schedule but we try. We may have to call on another brother or sister to help the one in need but we DO something! NOT just say “oh I’ll pray for you” and really do you?
HOW often do you really pray for the person you say you will?
What kind of prayer do you offer?
Everything in this message IS about “relationship”!
And beloved ones…relationship takes “TIME”! Time away from our own desires, wants etc. TIME given to another!
“OH but we have pastors or ministry leaders who do that sort of thing…” You may say…but seriously…do you honestly think that YOU are NOT to do a thing? Stop that grievous mentality because it DOES grieve Holy Spirit!
YOU….ARE the “minister” in that moment! The WORD says we are to be what? Do you even know the scripture??? “Ministers of reconciliation”! II Corinthians 5:14-21
“14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; 15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. 16 Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human view point and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh]. 17 Therefore if any person is [engrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [[c]endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].”
JESUS walked around with 12 wait….there were more than 12. NOT just 12 were commissioned either. BUT 12 were put in offices of Apostleship! BUT they were not the only Apostles….there were others along with prophets and such. The point is not the five offices talked about in Ephesians it is the relationship factor! They were together and most often many more than just 12 so there was an active “teaching” moment all the time about relationship that JESUS could reference.
ONE made it into the scriptures a kind of inside peek at the relationship between Peter and John.
“21 Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and [d]let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? 22 Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22
Jesus goes on to talk to them about the Kingdom and forgiveness!
This is a “heads up” about relationships and how important they are to our Heavenly Father.
We get so earthly focused on the “next thing” on our lists of “to do’s”…whether its grocery shopping or getting an oil change. Buying a home or going to the kids game or play. Or planning our vacations (for those who actually get to have them…). The truth is…in all our busyness and schedules and “stuff” where is the time we have for one another? AND where is the time we have for GOD?
The first two commandments are to love GOD with our entire being and the second is to love each other AS we love ourselves!
“37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). 38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 40 These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets”. Matthew 22:37-40.
JESUS even said that ALL the law/instructions (Torah) and Prophets (of old) are summed up in these two commandments! MEANING? THAT they ARE the foundations for all the instructions!
EVERYTHING we do and how we do and think and speak is based upon ONE THING…loving GOD our Heavenly Father and loving others, like we love ourselves.
Here is an interesting switch up… “The Law/Instructions and the Prophets are summed up on these two commandments; as you love yourself, love your neighbor and with all your mind, soul and heart love the Lord your God.”
You cannot love the LORD your God without loving your neighbor or yourself!
WHY…loving yourself…the other two makes sense but why do you think it’s important to love yourself?
It seems that as WE humans are made in THEIR image (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that to NOT love ones-self would ultimately be not loving Them! After all, in the New Testament…we ARE the Temple of Holy Spirit!
So in “not loving yourself” by doing things that hurt you is bottom line (foundationally speaking) NOT loving GOD!
AND in not loving GOD…or yourself…you cannot love others!
You might be selectively “nice” but to really “love” as Jesus said, is not possible.
Those who disagree that hate themselves need to examine their hearts because most who hate themselves and seemingly are really nice and “loving” to others selectively have an ulterior motives. THE most common ulterior motive for these wounded souls is the need to be approved and loved because they were not as children!
They cannot see the LOVE of God for what it is because there ARE blinders of wounded deceptions that cloud their vision of understanding and acceptance.
There is so much more to say about this…and truly, those who DO love themselves often find that they have others in their midst who do NOT love themselves but put on a “good face”, faking it so to speak…and are needy in many ways that others do not know how to deal with help or handle!
THIS is where “loving your brothers and sisters” by laying down your life comes into play. ON the flip side…sometimes their “neediness” is so draining that you have to push them away for a while. Just as a mother nursing a child must do so in order for HER to be replenished or else she would NOT be able to help her child.
This is why we are a family…a team…THE body OF Christ! AND it does NOT give excuse to simply “dump someone off” just because your schedule is hectic! Taking time to help someone FIND the right help or just listening to them, send them a note or call or text to let them know you have NOT forgotten them, all the while praying FOR them and helping to find the right ministry or help FOR them!
I can say this because in my early years leaders did it for me…and I have over the years done it for many as well. I am aware OF the sacrifice it takes as well as the reward of it. I know the horrible feeling of “losing” one too who just didn’t “get it”. I also know the pain of losing one that I had been too busy for!
NOT a guilt trip but a reminder of how precious life really is beloved ones and HOW important LOVE ..the LOVE OF God really is and means!
IN this Valentines season, perhaps you need to read and re-read the passages on LOVE, especially I Corinthians 13:4-8. And the books of John I, II, and III, along with the precious life OF Jesus Christ!
Read about St. Valentine and why this day is named after him, pretty intriguing. THEN go out and LOVE someone like JESUS loves YOU! You don’t have to look far…they are right in your home, and in your church! SOME in nursing homes feel forgotten and many of them believe in JESUS but have NOT seen HIS love for a while…take your kids to visit and love on them! GO SEE YORU OWN Grand and Great grand’s and have fun….make sure to always include your family and take in the solitary ones who are brethren to enjoy being loved and having fun with you! Get creative…after all, YOU were made in the CREATOR’S image! AND ultimately don’t forget the love of a GOD ordained marriage…celebrate it, celebrate one another!
LOVE and BLESSINGS with great JOY & Peace!
Rev. Lori Lynn
- A link here to share the story of Saint Valentine http://www1.cbn.com/st-valentine-real-story