Without Love

Had a great talk today w/ @karaokejoel.

These words from the Apostle Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians came alive even more today:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Joel & I talked about these words in the context of relationships (marriage, friendship, etc.). Hearing a great reminder of the value of love and respect in a marriage brought my thoughts back to the importance of the love of Christ. There are often notions and conceptions that if a person 'just' begins to 'do' the right things in a marriage, then they will develop their love/respect for their spouse. If we train ourselves to do the right stuff, then that we carry itself on into the years of our lives and be the display of our love for one another. I understand the importance of love, respect, discipline, and developing good habits and laying aside bad habits. My question and provoked-thought leads me to the question of WHY do all these things first?

In regards to our relationship with Jesus, we aren't required to obey Him and then, sometime later, we fall in love with Jesus because we started doing all the right things.

Instead, Jesus speaks these words:

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Also, in the infamous John 3:16, we are reminded that 'For God so loved the world, that He..."

It starts w/ love from God, then action follows.

I say, we shouldn't rely on a checklist of actions and duties to merely give the appearance of agape love. Instead, we should seek the Father and His love to be given to us as a gift and a fruit of the Spirit.

Once, we are filled with the Spirit, love is borne in us. Only then can we show unconditional, agape love to those around us with a pure heart.


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