Religion of Love
Authentic Christianity isn’t a religion in the sense that we gain merit and acceptance from God when we obey various rules and regulations and carry out certain duties. Christianity stands alone in that our worth, value and acceptance is derived from God’s love and grace, not our performance. Christianity is a religion of love, and nothing like religion. However, religion has crept into most of Christianity making it what it was never intended to be. His love and grace are hard concepts to accept because everything we do is based on our performance to some extent. To help renew our minds to this new way of thinking, we need to stop worrying about what man dictates and focus our energies on what Christ instructs.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets
This commandment sounds simple, but we can easily misunderstand it and neglect to fulfill it unless we understand the type of love we are talking about. God’s love far exceeds anything we have experienced or have given in this carnal world. It only comes from Him. For this reason, God said in John 13:35 that others would know us by our love because it is something this world or we can’t give on our own even if we wanted to.
Our initial understanding of love is born out of the world therefore it is of a carnal nature. The love of God is spiritual. We know that these two entities are in opposition. Hence the love of the world opposes the love of God. Consider the multitude of perversions of worldly love. It is overly sexual, demanding, needy, detached or restricted. It is used to control, manipulate, dominate, suppress, deny, and sabotage. These distorted understandings come from various venues; families, first loves, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, spouses, magazines, movies, music, books, and religion. All these sources converge to define our concept of love and rarely do we question the final outcome. We recognize that we may have not of been loved or given love as we feel we should have but our understanding of love remains an unquestioned force in our lives. Without much consideration, we transfer this carnal love onto God.
Knowing and accepting God’s love takes time because it is so different from what we know. God’s love is based on Him, not us. It is unchanging, unconditional, consuming, perfect, pure, complete, selfless, in truth, and in harmony with all that He is (all knowing, holy, just, and righteous) and that is only the beginning.
God’s love goes beyond our human capability to fully understand and contain it. It is defined by who He is, therefore it is much much greater than ourselves. We are a little lagoon and God is all the oceans of the world and beyond. His love is more than what we could ever contain and we can only experience and give His love if He fills us up first. And that is the cornerstone of Christ’s command – we can’t fulfill it unless we are born of His spirit that has the ability to hold and give such a love.
Once we are spiritually born, in proportion to the growth of our spirit is our ability to hold and give His love. Our spirits are an expanding reservoir in our bodies that hold the treasures of God. It is from this new spirit within us that the love of God flows. If our spirit is small then it holds a little and gives a little, and the rest of us, the flesh, will dominate our actions most of the time. But as that spirit grows taking over territories of our soul then we are capable of holding and giving more. The kingdom of God, God’s territory in our souls, is compared to a mustard seed, it starts very small but is capable of grower larger than everything else. Matthew 13:31-32 Giving true love is a natural outcome of our spirit’s life. We can’t give what we don’t have. We need to seek a love beyond ourselves.
So, how do we experience more of God’s love? We get to know Him like we would a spouse. We dive into Him and His revelation of Himself to us, the Bible. If we love God or desire to love Him, then we will spend time with Him in His Word getting to know Him.
Being God’s child means we have the ability to know and give His love, a love greater than ourselves. Our religion is relationships of love; love from God, love for God and love for others and it is all of God’s work in and through us, not of ourselves.
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
We have to seek to know His love because it is so different from what we have experienced in the past. As we seek Him, He will reveal His love to us in an intimate way then we will make a difference to the world because His love will flow through us.