Posts Tagged With: patience

Love-Hate Relationships

These days everybody wants to talk about love. People act as though it is a sin to talk about hating anything or anyone.

Go to most churches on a Sunday, and you will hear the word “love” at least once. That is the way it should be.

Go to many movies, and you will hear about love, often in a more vulgar sense or almost always in a selfish sense. Sometimes you will get to see hate acted out.

Go to a stadium, and you will see love demonstrated vigorously (sometimes for no reason). But you will also see some hate (for the opposing team).

Go to a psychologist, and they will encourage you to love yourself and your family and your community. But they will put the censor on any reference to that “h” word like it is a four letter word. Well it is, but so is love … and lust. (These two “L” words are often confused by a psychologist, but we will talk about that at another time.)

If you love someone, you hate others, at least in a relative sense. If you love someone, you are drawn to him and repelled from all others. At least this is true if we are talking about the highest, deepest, and most extensive of loves.

The Love of God should fill our lives. But, we cannot love God properly, unless there is also some relative hate for all others. Jesus taught this.

Where in the Word did Jesus get the idea that we should hate?

The Psalmist says, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.”

Wait a minute, Jesus said love your enemies? There is no room for hatred if there is love, right?

The more proper question is, “Who is our first love?”
It must not be for ourselves.
It must not be for the church.
It must not be for our family.
It must not be for our spouses.
It must not be for our wealth or status.
It must not be for anyone … other than God.

The Lord is our first Love.
Shema Yisrael …
All who do not love the Lord are anathema, accursed.

Whoa, buddy! What are you doing!! Calling down curses on people?

I am simply referring to the same Holy Bible that says, “Jacob have I love, but Esau have I hated.” The Holy Spirit inspired it, and He will help us understand it, as He teaches us.

So often, you will hear people mixing up the love commands (not love command, singular, but plural.)

Our first love is for God and God alone.

NOBODY shares in the full glory of God except the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One Lord.

Muslims call such replacing the Love for God with lesser loves shirk. It is a great evil.

However, the Love of God is such that God is willing to pour out His love into our hearts. As we hate sin and even the garment stained with sin, we will be drawn to love the Lord with pure devotion.

We will humble ourselves so deeply that it will appear to be a kind of hatred. We will appeal to the God of Heaven for His mercy moment by moment, because we will know that without Him we can do nothing. This is what it is to despise oneself: to delight utterly in God.

But if we so humble ourselves, he will lift us up in due time.

To hate your wife is to put intimacy with God ahead of intimacy with your wife. This will sound weird to some, but we must kiss the Son lest He be angry in His wrath and we perish in our way.

But if we are intimate first with God and most intimate with God, then we will enjoy the times we spend with our families all the more.

Perhaps you are by now eager to hate your mother and father and sister and brother that you may get them back. I think you get the picture, your family must be formed around your identity as a child of God the Father. And if you love God, you will certainly seek to repay your debt of love to your parents and the rest of your family by sharing the Gospel with them and all that they need if you have it at all in your power to help.

However, there is more, perhaps you will be like those who only get to see their family occasionally, if at all, because they have chosen to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth to reach the nations.

Ah, you will say, the nations must be hated because they do not love the Lord, and so they must. We must never love any ethnic or pagan so much that we hide the truth from them out of a counterfeit sensitivity that leans more toward those you have gone to reach that towards the God who sent you. Yes, we must love God more than the lost.

But if you love God, you will certainly want to see His name honored among the nations. A love for God will most supremely mean that if it is your first love, you will seek to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations. If one group will not hear, you will go to those who will, till some from all have heeded the Hope of Heaven’s Reward: Life in Christ.

Perhaps you harbor a little hatred for your enemy, pure hatred rather than perfect hatred. I would urge you to repent and love your enemy as you know you should. You may receive no reward in this life. Don’t worry about that. Look to the joy you will have on the last day when you will have a clear conscious when you cared nothing for honor in their eyes, but cared more for the Honor of God among the wicked.

How do you honor God? Truth in love. Think, act, speak with all integrity and compassion, patiently and kindly fixing your eyes on God, the Author and Finisher of your faith, the Foundation and Goal of your hope, the one who loves you enough to send His Son to die for you and is worthy of supreme love to the end.

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Evangelism: Proclamation and Friendship

There are two primary ways evangelism takes place: proclamation and friendship. Biblical discipleship which was practiced by Jesus and Paul according to the Gospels and Acts involve both.

Proclamation is the public heralding or annoucing. Today, this may be done not only in gatherings, but also on university campuses and on the internet. These are largely a monologue with an invitation to dialogue with an interest in finding the truth. Here is the Truth: Jesus. Do you want Him? Are you interested.

Friendship Evangelism takes place when people intentially enter into friendships with the goal of sharing the life of Jesus in word and deed. Now, if a there is a friendship, but no evangelism or spiritual dialogue takes place, there is really no evangelism, just friendship with the world. It is when that cup of coffee or tea time is mixed with faith in the Truth of Christ, then you have friendship evangelism.

Often, in the ministries of Jesus and Paul and their associates, Proclamation in the public gathering place was to be followed by a frienship or friendships that led to Jesus and a life with Him. I.e. what we would call Friendship Evangelism.

These are two peas in a pod. They belong together. Knocking on doors is not opposed to making friends with your neighbors. Rather one is a way of scanning wide, the other is a way of going deep. Common sense says to fish you must be on the lake. It takes a work of Jesus to fill your nets at just the right time and place.

Persistence is the key.

I learned this from a friend who made no profession of faith in Christ. He asked me: Do you know the key to fishing?

I guessed a wide variety of things: weather, timing, chance, bait, nets … No, no, no, no, no.

Then the friend who was with me guessed: Patience.

Exactly.

Do you want to know Jesus? Do you want others to know Jesus? It will take patience. Or, in it’s more english root: Long-suffering. Lots of difficulties will come up, but Jesus will overcome. Look to Him and He will eventually answer all your questions and bring in all the questing.

So: as I learned in sales: spread out wide and send your roots deep. It is the same in Christian Missions and the same with the Love of God: Deep & Wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep & wide.

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