on the topic of love

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I have to rant. This is a topic that  just pushes my buttons. (Maybe i’m called to dispel this horrible lie, i’m not sure…)

I have heard it from the mouth of preachers time and again, that love is not just an emotion it is an action. Love is a choice. The choice to do what is good, and right, and kind, and true, no matter the circumstance. Love is your way of giving back to God, your way of proving you really believe. Love is your conscious effort to be a god-follower.

I cannot tell you how much this aggravates me, because this is not true. Not even a little.

Love is an emotion. Love bubbles up from deep within your heart where your heart is bent towards someone. Love is an turning of the heart towards the object of one’s affection and the outward display of that love is an action. True love cannot be seen without action, but that does not make that action love. If i do an action without the love that is supposed to motivate it, i am a tinkling brass, a clanging cymbal.

Action without the heart bend, is just that, action. It is simply a conscious choice to do what is right. And doing what is right, or good, or kind, or noble, is always a good thing to do. But the purpose of the commandment was love, from a pure heart, that isn’t pretense. The purpose of the command is that you realize you need Jesus, because it is hard to fall in love with a world that hurts you, but that is exactly what you need to do in order to really live this thing out.

Do all the right actions all day every day. Do them because you are supposed to do them. But when you do them without love in your heart, you begin to wear down. You begin to get grumpy, and selfish, and angry, and you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have to remind yourself a billion times that it is what you’re supposed to be doing and that it is the right thing. Eventually you burn out because nothing is sustaining you.

Do all the right actions all day every day. Do them because you are supposed to do them. And when you do them because you just love people, because you just Love God, because you just want to see good released in this world for Jesus, you change. Things change. You are energized. When you see the fruits of your love that you pour out, when you see the affect you are having on the world around you, it energizes your love. You get more energy to love more. Your love runs deeper, truer, more passionate.  The clanging cymbal is gone and the melodies of heaven begin to ring out.

I once heard a preacher say ‘A lover will out work a worker any day.’ And that is the way God designed it. You prophesying, working, serving, striving, they all fail. They all fade away. But love, true love, Never fails. True love, deep passionate, emotion motivated love-service, never fails. IT is always fruitful.

True love does no harm to its neighbor, that is why love fulfills the law. That is why love is so strong. That is why love never fails.

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getting real going low

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i started this blog as a way to stay connected with the ladies who attended a women’s conference i hosted and organized a few years back. The conference went well and for the first event i have ever hosted that wasn’t specifically church sanctioned, we had a good turn out. Ladies were encouraged and God was present. Obviously that is not why i am blogging.

i was wrong.

i was wrong for doing exactly the thing that i told people not to do. i was trying to build a kingdom instead of delivering one that already existed. Ridiculous, i know. But in the interest of getting really real, it is what i was doing. i wasn’t doing it consciously of course. i did not plan the whole thing with the conscious plan to make it all about me, and what i wanted. i didn’t plan the event so that people would listen to me, worship me, and want me to lead them. None of those things happened anyway.

My plan the entire time was simply to declare the gospel truths to a group of women. I wanted to deliver messages of grace, and hope, and healing. Those things were accomplished very well i see. Looking back however i notice the sin in my own heart creeping out and trying to grasp at what i considered, and what the world would declare is greatness.

The more followers you have on social media, the greater you are. The more congregants you have, the greater you are. The more _____________ you have the greater you are. And that is WRONG.

i was reminded the other day that Jesus declares that greatness looks more like self sacrificing, co-suffering love, than big churches and huge successful ministries. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times those big ministries do a lot of good and help a lot of people. But not everyone can be the CEO, and Pastor of a mega-church, or even a semi-mega-church. In fact, most people will never rank on any “greatness” scale the world concocts.

i fell prey. i was doing what they all do. i started building my “following” and assembling my “people”, and i don’t want to do that anymore. My flesh is crying out “Look at me!! Listen to me!! I have something to say!! You want to hear what i have to say!!”  all because that is they way the world thinks it should go. But i was not created, gifted, and anointed to be like the world.

Do i have something to say? Hell yes! Do i want you all to hear it?! HELL YES! Is building a new church, gaining a following, creating a false influence and parading around as if i am the bomb.com the way to do it? HELL NO!!!

The kingdom of God does not ride into town on the Thoroughbred.  The kingdom of God quietly slips into town on the back of a donkey. It isn’t found in the megaphone of evangelical fanfare, it is found in the humility of breaking bread house to house.

i have just kept asking myself  over and over, “Can we just let Jesus ride a donkey again?” Can’t we just be the unlikely Jesus that prays over His meal in public, and offers prayers to His waitress? Can’t we just be the unassuming Jesus that offers kindness to the impatient customer we must wait on? Can’t we just be the Word made flesh the way our Savior portrayed our Father?

Why do we need cathedrals and stadiums filled with people in order to have church….to be the church… What good is another conference, or “revival week” if the folks who attend go home to no friends, no electric, or no food, or debilitating sickness? What good are all these things if we don’t actually embody Christ.

Again, all those things have their place, and they all do some good for a lot of people. But as a whole, overall, we have a generation of christians thinking to be great they must have power, influence, and position. And we have a generation of christians gaining the whole world, but what of their souls?

I am going low. I am going for greatness. I am forcibly rending the worlds view of greatness from my mind and i am replacing it with a picture of what true greatness is.

Greatness is waking up at 2 am with patience in your heart and talking to your loved one who is just having a crappy time at life. Greatness is giving up your whole weekend to serve and love your family despite your own wants or needs. Greatness is stopping to see a discouraged person in kroger and offering your encouraging words and prayers. Greatness is laying hands on someone when they tell you they are in pain, or suffering. Greatness is not building ministries, and kingdoms. Greatness is displaying the culture and affection of the kingdom you are already a part of.

Greatness is serving and loving even the hardest cases, with love in your heart because you know God is smiling at them.

i am aiming for heart transformation.

i am aiming for greatness.