I am currently playing Love Is All You Need by the Beatles because that is the song that kept playing through my head as I closed my eyes last night. However, those lyrics didn’t last for long as the Lord filled my head with thoughts of scripture.
Mark 12:30 & 31 states, 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
All through scripture we are commanded love.
But . . . .
Is there more?
The Bible says in Proverbs 2:5-7, ” . . . Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,…”
In Proverbs 3 the scriptures say that one is blessed when they find wisdom because they will gain understanding, and that wisdom is more profitable than silver or gold . . . more precious than rubies and that NOTHING you desire can compare to her (wisdom). The scriptures go on to say that a long life is in her right hand, and in her left are riches and honor . . . that her ways are pleasant and that ALL her paths are of peace. She is the tree of life based on verse 18. In verse 21 and 22 we are instructed to not let wisdom and understanding out of our sight, the preserve sound judgement and discretion for they will be life for you!
Not only, as believers in Christ, are we required to love, BUT, we are also told to SEEK wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
And . . . aren’t we supposed to have accountability? The scriptures say in Matthew 7:15-20 that we will know a tree by the fruit it bears. We must have discernment in all areas of our life, but we are also instructed on how to handle sin between a brother and sister in Christ . . . in Matthew 18:15 & 16, the scripture says, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.…” Let me tell you what that does NOT say. It does not say you gossip amongst your small groups. It does not say you share what someone is doing in the need of “prayer.” It does not mean you share their sin to justify yours. It says you go to them. And while I am on this particular subject, I need to say something that has burdened me for months. A few years ago, a friend walked away from her marriage. Maybe I was naive, I don’t know, but apparently after she was separated for several months rumors started flying. I apparently had my head in the sand, because it wasn’t until some time later that I “caught wind” of the rumors. In fact, I was so caught off guard by what was said, that I lost sleep over it that night, spending much time praying for her and for how I would address this delicate topic. The Lord gave me the words as I wrote, and even though fear tried to come in, God had the victory. I explained what was said to me the night before, but that I could not believe it until I heard it from her. The first line of her response was, “Stacey, you have no idea how much it means that you would come to me first.” As I write these words I remember her response and tears are filling my eyes even now. We met for breakfast a few days later. As much as I love this person, telling her I didn’t believe what she was doing was right, was hard. But . . . I still love my friend. Continuing to love her didn’t and doesn’t mean I have to change who I am or what my beliefs are based on. I still stand on the scriptures, nothing has changed, but . . . I still love my friend. To my astonishment, she said I was the only person (at the time) that ever contacted her to ask if it was true.
Okay, so let’s continue . . . .
We are to have wisdom, knowledge and understanding . . . . AND IF we are SUPPOSED to hold each other accountable as believers in Christ . . . THEN won’t we have division?
In Luke 12: 49-59 we find that yes, there will be division. As believers in Christ we are to be set apart from the world, the light in a dark world. We are to be different. But, there will also be division between believers as well.
It is very easy to take each scripture to the extreme . . . to ONLY love and never have accountability (judgement) or to never love and only condemn. . . . but then that would not be scriptural then would it?
As I was playing all these thoughts through my mind last night and again this afternoon, one thing continued to come to my mind, Holy Spirit. Then I thought on the sermon series our Pastor has been preaching . . . the Holy Spirit.
We can not love the unlovable in our flesh, only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Heck, there are times I struggle with loving my own husband and he surely isn’t an enemy. It takes supernatural power to love.
It is through the Holy Spirit we are granted wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment. If we are not prepared for battle and seeking Him, then our words will destroy a person and could possibly cause one to never come to Christ. We must be loving, yet discerning, and speaking the truth in love. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I surely can’t do that by myself. Can you?
I must be completely honest now . . . What brought all these thoughts and questions to my own mind is Bruce Jenner. My heart aches for him. It hurts even worse seeing all the Christians that have posted jokes and blasted hate all across social media. Hear me and PLEASE don’t misinterpret what I am saying . . . I don’t agree. I don’t understand. It goes against everything I believe in, but I also believe Jesus yearns for Bruce Jenner to come to a saving knowledge of Him. I wonder if that will happen with the thousands of people who profess Christ as their Savior making jokes on his behalf? Have you prayed for him as much as you’ve laughed at him? I believe there is hope for him. I believe that Jesus can change any man’s heart towards Him. I believe that because He changed mine at the age of 28. I hated God. I specifically remember once stating, “God is a male chauvinistic pig” while in a bar and went on to present the list of ridiculous reasons I believed that. I wanted NOTHING to do with God. But . . . As I learned through The Most Excellent Way Ministry . . . At one time I was foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. I lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved me, not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy. He saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, I might become heir having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Made personal by me but taken from Titus 3:3-8.
As I finish this post, a different song came to mind. One that brings a sweet smile to my soul . . . Love Is The More Excellent Way