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Posts Tagged ‘sins’

What Is Love?

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about love.

It talks about how love is essentially perfect – or the love shown by Christ and how Paul explains it in its true context.

People today think love is envious – that we are to envy those in love or love itself. Some people think they need to boast about their love lives and how they’ve found “that perfect person” (at age 16), when in reality they haven’t. They become full of pride and their hearts turn haughty — “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).

These days you see so many people – young people broken and ruined. They chase after lust, not love. Their “love” is self-seeking, it seeks to please them and only their desires. It becomes dishonorable. Their love doesn’t seek to protect or look out for the other person’s interest or their own.

You may be thinking, This is  all ridiculous – outrageous. Where on earth are you getting these ideas – this verse?

Well, were am I getting all these ideas — these references? By simply looking around the halls of the high school and even in public. Social media is also a good source of information. Pictures, videos, even songs. Examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two:

A few examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two: Make Them Hate Us (found on Tumblr.) and Make My — (found on We Heart It). Examples of these in songs — Well I could make a huge list, but some artists I’m sure you all are familiar with are Rihanna, Neon Trees, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Karmin, Krewella, and so on. And videos are pretty self explanatory – or their covers and title are.

“This verse” is Corinthians 13:3-8. I’ve used this verse before in a previous post – but it was about God’s love. For Bible translations, the two primary translations I use are ESV (English Standard Version) and NIV (New International Version). I tell you this because for this verse, though both translations are good, the prefer the NIV, as the wording is better – or more meaningful to me, at least. Here’s the verse:

If I give all I possess to the poor and I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn’t not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

It’s a beautiful verse. The part that jumps out to me, personally, is the last verse – verse eight. It’s the first sentence, though it’s short, it’s powerful.

“Love never fails.”

Or in the ESV version:

“Love never ends.”

I don’t know what part may have jumped out at you – or if anything did – but I encourage you all to read it over a few times, memorize it even. It is an amazing verse, and to me it is one of the verses that I treasure in my heart.

In the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, Josh talks about this topic – love – he talks about it very seriously, too. In chapter 4 (or 5, depending on which version of the book you have), the chapter’s title is: Looking Up “Love” in God’s Dictionary. And in the chapter, Josh mentions the verse I just told you about – 1 Cor. 13:3-8 – but he also talks about what true love is.

“God’s definition [of love] can be as startling as an unexpected slap in the face.

The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’ 

God always defines love by pointing to His son,” (pg 64).

Amazing, isn’t it? When I first read this, I had to do a double-take. It really was – is – a slap in the face. You know on the second page, Josh writes, “Christ taught that Love is not for the fulfillment of self but for the good of others and the glory of God.  True love is selfless. It gives; it sacrifices; it dies to its own needs,” (pg 65).

Guys, girls – “as we seek to love according to God’s design, we must pursue sincerity.’Love must be sincere.’ – this brief command given in Romans 12:9 leaves no room for misunderstanding,” (Harris 67).

Love these days isn’t sincere, it’s actually a joke. Rarely do you see people saving themselves for marriage – protecting their purity. Rarely do you see (unmarried, young) couples protecting one another’s purity and hearts.

Obedience is key. Listen to God and the people (committed Christians) around you. Listen to the wise and experienced. Learn from their mistakes, don’t let history repeat itself in your life.

Even if because of selfish or envious love you’ve sinned, God is there, waiting to forgive you. But you have to be willing to change, listen, and repent. There’s still hope and time to truly love again. – Even if you’ve messed up whether it be major or minor.

It’s all by God’s grace and love.

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The verse I’ll be going over is found in Hebrews, one of my favorites books. The verses are Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV):

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Starting out with the first verse, it tells us that we need to be careful and be alert and listen so that we don’t drift away from Christ. Now, skipping down a verse to verse 3, The salvation being talked about sin’t like we’re being saved – bailed out – temporarily, but the kind of salvation of where we’re saved to the fullest extent – we are bailed out in full; all our debts are paid, we are saved! This salvation Christ offers us is because of his unconditional love for us. Yes, us. Stinky, smelly, sin-ridden us, but that’s all washed away when we truly believe that when Christ died he washed all that down the drain – he washed it all away, in which, he did!

Going back to verse 2, it talks about us; flesh, how if a message (ultimately given by God) spoken by the angels above was a binding; taunt, message, sealing our fate (if you will). Because of the price we would’ve paid for our sinful actions – the punishment it deserved – there’d be no hope for us. It’d be how our sin; flesh; human nature, would have over ruled us -just  like it is for people now-a-days who don’t believe in Christ’s sacrifice, they are distracted. For us, it’s only through God’s unconditional grace and love that we have been saved.

In verse 4, the last verse, we can just see miracles happening! How God is showing his love and power; His agape love. Though his word we learn. Through His wonders, we learn and come to a halt with life in awe. Through his signs, we can see and discover more. And when we obey and stay steadfast in his love, we are rewarded; given gifts by the Holy Spirit, which lives in us and is actively working.

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“His laws are before me;

I have not turned away from his decrees.

I have been blameless before Him and have kept myself from sin.

The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,

According to my cleanness in His sight.”

-2 Samuel 22:23-25

All of 2 Samuel 22 is praise King David wrote about his relationship with God. It goes on and on about how much God loves and helps him and all his children. And it shocked me that David felt free to say some of the things he said. Aka the part I just posted. Why? Because, just a few chapters earlier he committed adultery and murder. So how could he say that he was blameless? And he was going to get rewarded! (Read the whole story if you haven’t because God rewarded him significantly) ‘His laws are before me, and I have not turned away from his decree,’? Nonsense! At least, that was my first reaction…

At a second look I realized something. David was blameless. He was a man after God’s own heart. But how? Simple. First off, David repented of everything he did (2 Samuel 12:13). In Hebrew ‘repent’ means to turn away from. So every time he fell short, he would repent and turn back around to God. He never let his mistakes overtake is relationship with God.

David was human and as a human his flesh would be at constant battle with his heart. He probably struggled more than we know with sin; everyone has their own private battles with it every day. And one day, David gave in. he slept with a married woman. He murdered someone. He sinned. Then he actually waited till God finally sent a prophet down to the palace before owning up to his mistake and repenting. So now we are at the point where we are like, ‘okay, ya. God forgives. Big deal.’

But look at it this way, we have all sinned and fallen into so many ditches it’s sometimes hard to see the light.

We say we are going to change and then, a week later, we do the exact thing we promised not to. We hear the words ‘God forgives’ but honesty, after a while, they are meaningless. Why? Because we have heard them SO many times! Its like ‘okay, I agree, he does. But not for me. Not anymore.’

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:7-9

The beauty of this verse is that it means, no matter what we do, how long we wait, what goes on in the middle, once we seek our God again. He is the same. He isn’t going to change His mind or take back what He once said.

So even though we fall. we can get back up. and even though we’ve turned away. We can come back and still have a Heart after God’s own Heart. Just like David.

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“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from you ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)

Can you ever imagine something more valuable or someone so close to you dying for something you totally screwed up on; some horrible thing you did? God sent his perfect son to die for our wretched sins and our messed up lives. One can’t comprehend such love or something with such meaning. I mean, would you be able to die for a friend – or all your friends if it meant saving them? Do be sincere. Our human nature of selfishness kicks in and we normally chose to opt out. I’m sure there are a few people who would sincerely sacrifice their life for others, and for those who have friends like that, you’re blessed! I will say that personally I would have second thoughts. But. I love and care for my friends. They mean a lot to me, my family even more.

You know, a French jeweler once engraved on a’many medallions, “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je taime davantage, Aujour dnui plus quenhier et bien moins que demain.” Translated to English is says: “For you see, each day I love you more. Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” The poem is entitled Eternal Love – just like God’s love for us; unfailing and ever-lasting. That’s why he sent his son, he loved us so much, he wanted to deliver us from evil, he wants to have a forever-lasting relationship with us. He is El-Shaddai.

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