Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Don't Focus So Much on Love (aka Don't Obey God)

Not too long ago, I was told that my blog posts tend to focus too much on love, and not enough on obedience to God. I've been told this many times before as well.

I actually find this comment to be a little funny for a couple reasons...

1) Loving God and loving one another IS obedience to God.

From Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (see... all 4 Gospels felt it necessary to reiterate these words from Jesus):

 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[j] “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

2) Could you imagine if God had that attitude towards us?? 

"I'm sorry. I've been focusing too much on loving you. Instead of loving you so much and giving my own son, I'm going to demand obedience from you, and punish those of you who don't listen."

Oh wait... that's right. God did seem to have this attitude in the Old Testament. In Genesis 6, we see Him sending a flood to wipe out the earth. And in Genesis 19, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. There are other events as well, but these two are pretty prominent events of God getting tired of the lack of love (obedience).

Luckily, God didn't continue that attitude. Because of such an extreme amount of love and mercy He has for us, He sent Jesus. I think that's reason enough to write and talk so much about loving one another as He loved us.

 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants[a] any longer, because the servant[b] does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. (John 15:9-17)

 3) How can we hope to have any kind of peace on earth if we don't love? 

Going back to the events listed above, it's interesting to look into why they happened. Before the flood, everyone was wicked and violent. (In other words, they had no love for God or man). In Sodom and Gomorrah, there was no hospitality (love) towards strangers, or anyone else. Love was gone. There seemed to be no hope left with these people.

This is what the Earth will become (and often seems is what is already happening). Love is dissipating. Take a look at recent events in the news. The Baltimore riots - and especially the events and situations and living conditions which led to these riots. These same situations are happening all over the United States (and probably the rest of the world). Certain groups of people more than others are lacking education, adequate housing, opportunities. They can barely feed their families, or pay medical expenses. They're outcast or treated differently because of the color of their skin, or their accent, or their gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, etc etc etc. They are not offered hospitality. They are treated wickedly. And when they rise up in righteous anger, they are beat down even more.

We are faced with the oppressed, and the oppressors... and then comes a good chunk of the population - those who sit back and do no nothing, choosing not to take sides. Side with love. Reach out your hand to those who need the help - those who Christ chose to help.

Yes, I talk a lot of loving each other. This is not ignoring the topic of obedience, but rather focusing on that obedience. How many times does the Bible have to say "LOVE ONE ANOTHER" (in the words of Jesus Christ himself) before you recognize that this is the greatest commandment... and is the one that is broken time and again?  You want me to speak about obedience, then here it is... OBEY GOD by getting off your ass and showing LOVE TO ONE ANOTHER!.

Thank you and good night. :)
God bless!

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