We are taught many things in school, but we are never taught the laws that govern love. So we set out on our adventure to find our soul as ignorant as a dead oak stump. There are only a few rules of thought for the carnal occupied will. The strongest is lust, and the second is greed. We base out entire life on our own self – will. We marry by it, we have children by it, and oh yeah we divorce by it. Many live a totally miserable life with someone they have absolutely nothing in common with all because we live for ourselves. Welcome to the age of self.
We as fallen humanity must recognize that self-interest is our greatest stumbling block. Knowledge is the power by which we recognize our deficit. Goodness is what compels us to seek higher ground. Who makes us different from one another? What do we have that we did not receive from God? Why do we boast as if we had not received our possessions and our abilities from God? This is disgraceful that we glory over things we have as if we did not receive them from Another. Vainglory is excessive pride in one’s achievements, and blinds us from the solid foundation of the truth. There are not many wise, mighty, or noble people that are called into the service of the Lord. He chooses the foolish and lowly things of this world to confound the many, who place their faith in themselves, so no flesh will glory in their own ability so that as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31)
I, for one, am a worthless piece of garbage that Jesus Christ lifted out of the gutter, and set on the curb. There is no good in me. Many people instantly tell me, “Wait, you have done this and you have done that,” but I tell you the good you see me do is not me, it is Jesus Christ living through me. We wrongly think that the good that is in us comes from us, but I tell you that good comes from God. This belief we have that we are good enough to get to heaven comes from demons. Pride is the greatest crime on earth: it robs our Creator of the glory that is due Him. Self-worth without understanding is useless, and awareness without morality is damned. But a man with moral respectability calls on God and acknowledges, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.” (Psalms 115:1)
Now if your sins are many they are forgiven because you loved much, but those for whom little is forgiven, loves little. So if Christ has forgiven us our many sins we should prepare our heart with prayer, because of the mercy He showed us through death. He rose again for our justification (just as if we have never sinned). He ascended to heaven for our preservation, and sent His Comforter for the knowledge of His will. One day He shall return again for the consummation of all things. Through death He displayed the mercy He had for us, and through His resurrection He displayed His power so that all peoples will know that glory belongs to the Lord.
Love is for those of us who seek the presence of God, never satisfied with the knowledge of His presence, and are always searching to know more. We spend our time contemplating the unexpected kindness, the mercy of His forgiveness to the undeserving, the freedom to explore the amazing grace that He has bestowed on us so dearly. It should be a natural reaction for our souls to withdraw from all sinful activities, and reject everything that is inconsistent with the love of God. The unbeliever does not acknowledge the Son of God so he cannot know the Father and the Holy Spirit. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Through the love we have for God our blessings are manifested in our love for others, because the eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
What shall I render unto the Lord for all the benefits towards me? (Psalms 116:12) Through God’s grace, He raised us out of nothing to nobility and requires that we love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, with all our knowledge, and with all our being. All of creation sprang into being by His Word, yet how He suffered, the hardships He endured, the shame he suffered, and all He asks is for us to love Him. In His first creation He gave us life, and in His new creation he gave us eternal life so through this gift He saved those of us that were lost. How little He asks for such great a reward. How unlimited and inexhaustible is the love God has for us, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalms 18:1-3)
God so loved the world without a single request for compensation, yet He rewards those of us who love Him. 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; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is not a contract or an agreement between parties. It is a tenderness for another, a fondness for one’s soul. We cannot share the Gospel for compensation because we will love the reward more than we will love God.
A person who truly loves God will earn his way to have the privilege of sharing Christ with others. Those who share for pay are no different from a man who falls in love with a woman for her beauty—he will always be looking for a woman who is fairer—or the man who lusts after wealth because no matter how rich he gets he will always lust after more. They will always grapple for good in unethical ways, longing for contentment, and led astray by their own lusts. They exhaust themselves in their self-imposed hardship without reaching their goal, because they are after the reward instead of the love of God.
The motive for having a relationship with God should be God Himself so our love for Him is rewarded by the love He first had for us. He created the affection. He brings the desire to our hearts to love Him. Man knows no peace in this world without the love of God. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 73:25-26) Our flesh is weak and our ability is frail so we love ourselves selfishly instead of loving our God first.
Our second command is just as difficult as the first. We are to love our enemies as we love ourselves. No man has ever hated his own flesh so the example here is one of great difficulty. It is only in our relationship with God where we can overcome the debt-ridden heart. Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalms 50:15-16) In God we can accomplish everything that is good, and without Him we can accomplish nothing.
At first man loves God for his own benefit because he realizes how little he can do for himself. This is no different from a child loving their mother because the mother sustains them in life. Our needs cause us to turn to God. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. (Psalms 34:8-9) Then after experiencing the love of God we draw close to Him in unselfish love. No longer do we love Him for our own needs, but we love Him for His person. Once we have reached an understanding of our love for God it is easier for us to realize how to love our enemies. So we see how much more we will love our own families, and we learn to treat all with the same perspective.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)
We place our affections in Him to realize true joy and happiness. We do this not by satisfying our own desires but by fulfilling the will of God. When we as mere mortals feel joy, when our troubled time here experiences happiness, the daily grind of life is bearable to our soul. When we are purged from our selfishness, all human endearment dissolves into a transformed soul longing for the love of God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalms 42:2) Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalms 27:7-8) No human effort may obtain this degree of love. It is blessed to us by God for the longing for His presence.
The souls that have passed over in death are bathed in God’s eternal light. They are freed from self-consciousness, and wait patiently for their resurrected bodies. The curse of Adam has been removed as they await the resurrection that will consummate all things. Our first state of being here on earth is tedious, our second state is filled with rest, and in our third we receive our glorified bodies where there is nothing to hinder our fellowship with God. And at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Christ shall present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
Some praise God because He is fearsome, while others praise Him because of His blessings, and others because He is pure righteousness. The first is a slave of fear, the second is greedy, and the third is one who honors his Father. We do not seek our own self-interest, but a world of pure love from God, because this is the only way we can rid our soul of inappropriate desires. This is the “Law of Love” so all that we have is God’s, and nothing of God’s can be unclean. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8) Love is the everlasting decree that the universe was created and ruled by.
Each man is a proclamation unto himself, and when he sets his will against the will of God he is perverting the system of rule. He is placing himself above God, and making himself independent from the law. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:22-25) The regulation of righteousness requires us to submit to the love of God, and if we don’t we bear the bitter burden of self-will.
The sons and daughters of God have their law even when we know that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless. (1 Timothy 1:9) There is one law given in the spirit of bondage, and another given in the spirit of liberty. The children of God are not restrained by the first law, but could not survive without the second. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption…The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:15-17)
The law is not made for the person who does what is right in the eyes of God, but for the person that is lost in sin so they will realize their sinful nature. Once they realize they are lost God does not force them to the light, but coaches their weary soul. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Love is an easy law to follow. It is not difficult to bear, and makes life here on earth tolerable while we are ever longing to be with the Lord.
Christ said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18) Love improves the law and it inspires faithfulness. It rewards us as followers to restrain from evil desires, and it mixes fear with our loyalty so as to purge us from our sins. Even when we read perfect love casts out all fear, we know our self-will is restrained, and we reject evil.
God has conceived a progression for our lives so we become an earthly person first, born without the knowledge of God. We love ourselves for our self because flesh begets flesh. We then realize that we cannot exist on our own so we begin to seek after God not for His sake but our own. Then through Bible study, prayer, and meditation we get to know God, and realize how wonderful He is so we seek after Him for fellowship. We develop a relationship with Him, and grow in grace until we desire His presence every minute of every day. We love ourselves to fulfill God’s purpose so the love of the flesh is consumed by the love of the spirit. This is why Paul the Apostle said, For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)