As we face another new year many have looked back in alarming disgust at a world where the love of many has grown cold. Daily the news media is filled with violent crime, terrorism, and unimaginable events that cut at the very core of our being causing many to weep and cry out to the Lord for His swift return. How could we drift so far from the Love, that God gave to the world through His only begotten Son? How could it grow so cold? Even among so many who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Lord? Perhaps the answer is more simple than we can imagine. The world in general and the Christian in particular has forgotten how to love and more importantly they have forgotten the true source of that love. They have forgotten that their very best effort at loving others falls woefully short of true love and its magnificent power. So, it’s needful to re-enter the schoolhouse of heavenly love that transcends understanding. It cannot be entered by the lost, nor can it even be comprehended by the carnal mind. It is only possible to climb this heavenly staircase by those who cast off their carnality and be willing to submit to the Master’s use as His vessel.
The Bible says that God is love and all that He did in the beginning was done out of love; from the creation of the universe to man being made into His own image. It is God who holds everything together not allowing evil to venture beyond its predetermined boundaries. Without God’s love the entire universe would be cast into everlasting chaos. There is great power in love. In fact, we can be assured that one day love will overcome all evil and allow the bright light of God’s glory to shine forth throughout the entire created order. The most beautiful act, other than giving life to all that exists, and holding it together, was sending His Only Son as a sacrifice to save fallen humanity from their horrible bondage to sin. This self-giving love without ever expecting anything in return has all been lost in a raging sea of hate, bitterness, and un-forgiveness.
To recover this love and learn of its great power it’s necessary to repent of every memory that keeps an offending trespass alive, that’s casting us ever deeper into the bondage of sin and immorality. It’s necessary to receive God’s loving forgiveness knowing full well that He has cast our sin as far as the East is from the West. It is so sad that many will not receive this love, because they have built up a wall of hostility towards everyone they feel who has wronged them. Their un-forgiveness of others causes them to harbor bitter feelings that keep the offense alive and well. In so doing it’s nearly impossible to trust others or believe that they can be loved. Although these cases appear most difficult it is not impossible to reach them with the power of God’s love. They must be convinced what God can do for them. Remember, it is God who will make them into a new creation causing old things to pass away through true repentance and forgiveness, and behold all things become new as God puts His Holy Spirit within them. No longer are they held in bondage to the old life, but set free to love others as He has loved them. Now they are ready for the Master’s use. As an empty vessel, free from the power of sin and an unforgiving or judgmental spirit then they are ready to receive God’s overflowing love not to be kept, but given away as He directs.
How powerful is this love? It looks well beyond the callous and hard surface of others to a heart caught in the snare of the devil and suffering under the heavy weight of past sins. We need to learn how to separate the sin from the sinner. We can look at the sin, we can and should preach against the sin. Let me assure you that this love does not accept evil or embrace the deception of this world, for it stands its ground refusing to integrate false teachings into God’s unchanging Word. For the moment, we do, we lose the power of love. Without the power of love then we are no better off than any other social relief agency attempting to good for mankind. Whereas, we must love the sinner by realizing his tragic circumstance from being in bondage to the power of evil. In so doing it will lead us to have godly concern and empathy for those in captivity. It starts with listening, really listening to their cry of anguish, not condoning it or judging it, but realizing how it is affecting them. Furthermore, as we clear away all our personal opinions, cultural bias’s, and humanistic viewpoints then we are ready to allow God’s love to flow through us to others.
To allow God’s genuine love to flow through us to others is quite miraculous for it has the power to remove bitterness from their heart as if snatching a blade from a would-be assailant. The healing power of God’s love can bind up emotional, psychological, and yes, even physical wounds. So, powerful is this love it’s like heaping coals of fire upon the head of your enemy when we follow the biblical admonition to give even to our enemies the necessities of life. (See Romans 12:20) Our act of love can cause the worst sinner to feel shame, remorse of conscience, conviction of the evil of his conduct, and an apprehension of divine displeasure that may lead to repentance. There is great power in love if we make ourselves willing vessels for God’s use in pouring out His love to the world. God is waiting for His beloved children to pick up the torch of His love and let it shine brightly before a dark and sinister world.
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