Aslan’s Meditations: (10/11) Loooooove

em 08/05/2011 13:37:03

I hope you haven’t forgotten about our series in 2 Peter 1:5-8! We’ve had a nice little break while I’ve been out of town, and I’m most pleased to be back again for part 10!

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re beginning to wrap up the series now – in our second to last installment on LOVE.image

Uh-oh, you say. LOVE. That’s a touchy one, isn’t it?

The word love is thrown around so much in our culture. We love certain types of food, clothing, music, games, movies. We love people, places, things, ideas. Sometimes we don’t, but we say it anyway. It’s passionate, deep, and driving.

“All you need is love.”

I personally really hate that statement, because I don’t think it’s entirely true. But I can understand where people are coming from, so we’ll get started.

While I can’t claim to know everything about love, I’d like to look specifically at love as we see it in 1 Corinthians 13. Especially as Easter draws near, we can look at love as it is modeled perfectly in the life of Jesus and His sacrifice.

imageI often think I have to model Christianity. I mean, hey – look at all those Christians who look good, sound smart, AND follow Christ. Can’t I do that, too? But I found that that started to suddenly shift my focus. I started to worry a lot more about how I looked to other people, what I sounded like, and what people were going to think of me – instead of placing my focus on Christ.

1 Corinthians 13 starts out to say – though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

I can sound good, but if I don’t have love for Christ and for others, the words I speak are really just clangs and clashes.

And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains – but have not love, I am nothing.

I could know everything – earlier in the series we talked about knowledge. How it’s important to know what we believe. But have you ever wondered what it was like to know everything? What if I understood every mystery, every question, every problem there was to know? This verse says if I didn’t have love, I’d be nothing. Imagine! To know everything in the world, to be the epitome of knowledge – yet be regarded as nothing without love.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Sacrificial giving is one of the most benevolent things a person can do. Giving of yourself, your talents, and your abilities to serve others is not something to be taken lightly – but we could sacrifice our whole lives to others – and if it’s not for love, it was all in vain.

So clearly my endeavors to be a Christian and look good too – don’t quite work. I can’t have my cake and eat it too. At least – not when my goal is to look good. We’ve got to start with the basics.

Then – what is love? We’ll keep on going in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love suffers long, and is kind. Love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Woah, that’s a load of truth right there. Have you ever stuck your name in there in place of the word love?

Hannah suffers long, and is kind. Hannah does not envy, Hannah does not boast.

Kinda puts it in a different perspective, doesn’t it? Do I really do all those things?

“Suffers long.” The usual word to replace that one in other translations is “patient” but in reality that’s just what it means – suffering for a long time. Love is willing to bear the pain and the agony, knowing there’s something greater at work.

“Does not seek its own.” That in and of itself is a load right there. To never seek my own – but to only seek Christ. To never try to parade myself as looking good, but only to parade Christ. To proclaim Christ.

“Thinks no evil.” Oh, how often have sinful thoughts crossed my mind! We are called to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor 10:5) Can you imagine if our every thought and action was captive to the obedience of Christ? How wonderful that would be?

Now go back and look at this passage – we’re so incapable, aren’t we? I can’t even begin to count the times I have done exactly the opposite of what these words tell us. But now, read it again, and think about Christ, and what He’s done.

Love suffers long, and is kind. Love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

imageJesus – the King of the universe, the one who deserves glory, fame, honor, respect, and exaltation! He did not parade Himself, He didn’t seek His own. He was the perfect picture of love – and because He loves perfectly and purely, He gave His life for we who could never love.

We are impatient. Unkind. We want others to think well of us, we want to look good. We want to *feel* satisfaction, we want to see. Our sinful natures delight in temporal satisfaction. Things we can see and touch immediately.

imageHave you ever thought of the craziness of Christ’s love? What about the fact that GOD DIED. Okay, so maybe I’m being dramatic here, but really – that the Lord of all the universe came down to die.

Not only that, but He died for the ones who were completely incapable of anything.

Because He loved us.

Oh, how sweet and powerful that truth is!

Its so cliché sometimes – I mean, you’ve heard it repeated probably more than 10 million times in Sunday school, right? We so often take it for granted.

But the God who loved perfectly loves us who cannot even fathom love.

And our response? We are called to give our lives – what more can we give but that? Jesus says whoever loses his life for His sake will find it.

Love is sacrificial – and it’s a choice. It’s not always a feeling, and it’s not always something we can see the direct results of.

But we love – because He first loved us. We can love others even when they’re scumbags. Even when they don’t love us back – because we know that the God of the Universe and the Lord over all loves US.

It’s hard to love people who don’t love back. To suffer through pain and give up ourselves. But what loss is that for the gain of being satisfied by Christ? He can’t satisfy us till we understand that we cannot satisfy ourselves.

So much that we do is in response to something that has happened. We eat because we’re hungry, we drive because we have to go somewhere. We work because we need to earn money, and we sleep because we need it.

We love others because Christ loved us.

imageIn response. How many of us would get married and live as if we were single? Or have kids and live as if we didn’t? Or win a million dollars and not do anything with it?

The fact is – Jesus sacrifice is far more beautiful, exciting, and wonderful than anything that could ever happen to us on this earth. Our love is a response to that – the way we live because of God.

imageWe see love in Narnia – clearly in Aslan. Edmund betrayed the ones he

loved – and Aslan died to save him. But what you see is a change in Edmund – how He lives in response. You also see it in Eustace – his life was drastically changed. Aslan may have had to rip and tear at him, but he did it out of love because he knew that was the only way to change him.

It reminds me of the song by tenth avenue north called “any other way.”

It’s not enough – it’s not enough, just to say that you’re okay.
I need your hurt, I need your pain – it’s not love any other way.

Love isn’t love unless there’s some sacrifice to it. The kind of pain and suffering Jesus went through was necessary for us to be redeemed. And sometimes He has to hurt us in order to teach us – but He does it because He loves us and He’s got a perfect plan and story all in place.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly – but then we shall see face to face.

We can’t always see what God is doing, or perhaps why exactly we should love someone – but we know that one day Christ will wipe away our every tear and we will see Him face to face.

So is all you need love? If you’re looking at 1 Corinthians from a strictly technical point of view, yes. But as Christians we know it’s not love we need -  it’s Christ. It’s not enough just to say we  need to “just love” – but rather that we need to give ourselves for the only one who can satisfy us – Christ.

My challenge to you this week, especially as we move closer to Easter, is to look at your life and your actions. Do they reflect Christ, and are they proclaiming Him? You don’t necessarily have to speak the Gospel in order to proclaim the Gospel. Love is an action – it’s your willed choice to press on because you know that your eternal home is secure.


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