Monday, May 04, 2009

Is love a chore?

I read something about reasons for obeying and serving God. Are we doing it because because He first loved us, or we love Him, or because it is the right Christian thing to do, or because we want His blessing, or because we fear His wrath?

1 Corinthians 13:4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.

I used to think this is the kind of love we must exhibit as Christians. I used to think this is the kind of love I must show to my neighbour. I was wrong. I can never in my lifetime reach or achieve this kind of love. Only God can. Thus this verse is the kind of perfect love God has for us.

Love will automatically fulfill His commandments, of which the two pillars are based upon - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind. And love my neighbour as myself. I can never do it. But Jesus can.

This love as described in both Corinthians and the Law comes only when we know how much we ourselves have been loved by God. And this love was shown when Jesus willingly died for me. Without accepting His love, I can only sustain my own kind of love. My own selfish love.

Perfect love casts out all fears. This love comes only from God. There is no other perfect love, except that which a righteous man died for sinful men to redeem us back for His own. His blood shed completely cleansed me so much that I can stand before a holy God righteous and pure, and dispel the accusations thrown at me. His blood has drawn aline around me, protecting me and crying, "Redeemed!"

Love covers a multitude of sins. How much and how deep is the multitude of sins? Wide enough when His arms were thrown open wide on the cross. Deep enough that He went into the very depths of hell to wrest the keys of death back for us.

When this love displayed by God through Christ sits rooted within you, you don't have to be told not to kill your neighbour. You won't steal his stuff either. You won't commit adultery because you love your wife. All these are possible when we are first filled with His love for us. We, on our own, can only love so much.

Obedience out of fear has good short-term effects - but for how long? Eventually people will just run away from the prospect of an angry, judgmental God because we could not fulfill what is required from Him. Or turn away as the Israelites did because fulfilling those laws becomes a chore. How can we even fulfill the first commandment which is to have no other gods before or besides God? Who can truly say God is always #1 in our lives all the time?

And wanting blessings alone without knowing His love is only selfish gain. It is not worship of God but worship of self.

When we come to understand and experience how much God loves us, worship becomes a natural response. It fills our entire person even as our souls' longings are satisfied. We no longer fear Him because His perfect love for us, shown by sending His Son while we were deep in sin, drives out all our fear. And receiving His blessings is as easy as a child receiving from a loving father.

In Proverbs 10:22 (Amplified Bible) The blessing of the Lord--it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

This is the kind of blessings I want from the Lord - no sorrows and no toiling (or self-effort). Some people have told me this refers to spiritual blessings. Think again, if these blessings are spiritual, how can sorrow be added to them? Surely it means more than spiritual blessings. Can it not mean *gasps* material things too?

A story I once heard:
There was a woman who was married off to a tyrannical man. He dictated her every move and made her his servant. He wrote a list of her daily duties: waking up at 5am everyday, cooking his breakfast and serving it to him in bed, making coffee, getting his newspapers for him to read, basically waiting on him hand and foot. She was miserable.

One day the man died, and the wife was free. She married again later, to a patient, gentle man who loved her. One day she was looking through her stuff when she found the old list her husband had drawn up for her. She realised suddenly that she did the exact same things for her current husband - but because now she did them out of love, it was no longer the chore it had been.

1 comment:

ravi4u2 said...

Absolutely! It is better to be loved than to love!