The Test for True Life: Love

Would life be meaningful to you if there was no such thing as love? According to the Apostle John, life without love is…, well, death. “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (I John 3:14b). John says that the way we know that we have received life from God is that we are able to love our brothers. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1 John 3:14a).

So, what does it mean to love others?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).

John reveals here what this life of love is like.  It is like the life of Jesus. Loving like Jesus means that we are willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of others. Jesus did this for us on the cross.

Loving like Jesus means that we will help those in need (cf. 1 John 3:17). We respond with compassion to help those around us who are in need. We are to respond to them as Jesus did.

Loving like Jesus means that we will not just talk about loving, serving and helping;
we will actually do it. When our loving actions give evidence of the values of Christ we profess, we are seeing the proof of a heart that has been changed by Christ. This evidence of Christ’s love living in us gives us confidence to stand before God (cf. v. 21).

So, according to John, if you really want to live, now and eternally, you need to
receive and then share the love of Christ with those around you. True love means living like Jesus did. That’s true life!

Real Love

(Click here to listen to the podcast recording)

 

Each week, it seems, we hear about a new celebrity couple getting together, and the gossip columnists begin taking bets on how long before they will call it quits. It makes me wonder if the popular song, “What’s love got to do with it,” was written about this phenomenon. They call it love, but is it really?

Years ago, a wise man by the name of Paul wrote a classic description of what real love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV) Those celebrity relationships rarely, it seems, come anywhere close to Paul’s description.

As we celebrate St. Valentine’s day this month, consider the meaning of real love: it is a daily choice to put the best interests of the one loved before one’s own wants and needs. Love is more than an emotional high; it is a conscious choice, a continuing commitment. You don’t fall into and out of love (that would be infatuation). You must choose to love and you must choose to nurture that love if it is to grow.

Want to know more about love? Don’t look to the celebrities! Look to the best example of love, ever: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16, NLT)

The Quest – Day 29

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 24, 2006 which is the 29th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 29 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 29 – Power Over Sin

 
God offers power to give us victory over sinful habits and self-preference.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” (1 John 1:7, 2:1 NIV)

For the past two days we have talked about spiritual power.  But we must ask a very important question, “Power for what?”  We have seen that God does not offer us power just so we can amaze others or so we can be like Superman.  God is not offering power to feed our personal egos.  But God does offer us power to live above habitual, intentional sinning.  John makes the point clearly in our text today when he says that he writes “so that you will not sin.”

Sin creates a twofold problem.  Our list of past sins is Problem 1.  Sin’s nature buried deep within us that pushes us toward sin and self-preference is Problem 2.  This self-preference remains deeply rooted even after God forgives my sins.

Some Christians believe that sin’s habitual power and our self-preference is a curse we will live with our whole lives.  So are we doomed to sin throughout our lives?  Is our battle against sin hopeless?  Will we always use our freewill to choose our own way?  Absolutely not—to all these questions!

Not only can God solve Problem 1 by forgiving us of our past sins, but He also has the power to change us from within and reorient our nature so we can return to His will and plan for our lives.  God’s power can change us at a heart level in order to break the cycle of sinning.  God offers us power to cleanse us from self-preference.  So, the solution to Problem 2 is to surrender command of the control center of your life to our loving God.  Let the Christ who created you and died for you have complete control of your past, present and future—everything you are and everything you may ever become. 

Yes, God can give you power over intentional, habitual sin, so you can live the life you’ve longed for!

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by yielding control of your life to Christ who died to free you from the power of sin.

The Quest – Day 19

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 14, 2006 which is the 19th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 19 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 19 – Is This Thing For Real?

God’s love is for real.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Love is a good thing! We know we need it and should give it to others. Love gets lots of attention from world religions, secular society and the entertainment sector, yet our hearts long for something more. This longing takes us on a quest to find a deeper kind of love. What we’re searching for can only be found in the love of Christ.

Christian love comes from God, the source of all love. Only though knowing Him and living in relationship with Him can we find love for the live we long for. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” But can we love in that way just by willing it? Haven’t you noticed that loving by sheer willpower just doesn’t cut it?

The Bible tells us that we must first accept God’s love for us. Only then can we turn around and love others the way He loved us. Christian love is not something we generate from within by determined willing or imagination. Rather it is God living through us to love others. We do not create Christian love; we simply pass it on as a gift. When God lives in us, His love flows through us, even to our enemies and those who frustrate us.

It may be tempting to dismiss the idea of Christian love as unrealistic. However, remember that God places His love in us the same way He gives us salvation. If you can accept the miracle and mystery of His salvation, you can also accept the miracle and mystery of His love. Receive it; pass it on. It’s that simple.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith by receiving God’s love and then sharing it with others.