The Way of Love
My husband and I were sitting at the kitchen table having a difficult discussion with a close family member. She has very different opinions than the biblical views on abortion, marriage, and transgender issues. Perhaps you’ve had tough talks like this with loved ones. It can be really challenging to show love to people who disagree. We know some churchgoers who try so hard to accommodate those with opposing viewpoints that they simply say, “You’re right and the Bible is wrong.”
Perhaps they are thinking of how Jesus told His followers:
“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)
As believers in Jesus, my husband and I are eager to show love to everyone so that they may draw closer to the Lord. This means showing His love to those who disagree with us and even to those who may hate us. Even so, showing God’s love mean does not mean approving and affirming views and behavior that contradict His Word.
True love points people to the cross, where Jesus died for the sins of everyone. For we all desperately need a Savior, whether we struggle with same-sex attraction, pornography, addictions, bouts of anger, telling “little” lies, or gossiping. It’s all sin, and—praise God!—it’s all covered by the blood that Jesus shed for us. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 assures us,
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Sometimes I feel like it’s walking on a tightrope, holding onto biblical values while showing love to a person who is far from God. If you’re like me, you don’t want to jeopardize relationships that are near and dear to us.
Loving God and following Him can be costly, as Moses discovered when God called him out of his comfort zone and appointed him to the seemingly impossible task of leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. And John the Baptist paid the ultimate price by giving up his life to obey God, calling people to repent and prepare the way of the Lord (see Luke 3:4).
Yet as we go through these difficult circumstances, we have the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 12:11-12 to encourage us:
“Don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
And as we depend on the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom, let’s also remember the admonition to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). How can we do this? By the mighty power of God that resides within us. For as 1 John 4:16 tells us, God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Dear Lord God, please fill us daily with the power of Your Holy Spirit that we may have wisdom and discernment to know what to say to people who do not yet understand the eternal truth of Your Word. Fill us with Your unconditional love for them, that they may come to know You. We pray in the name of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Streams in the Desert – January 21
- 202321 Jan
None of these things move me (Acts 20:24).
We read in the book of Samuel that the moment that David was crowned at Hebron, “All the Philistines came up to seek David.” And the moment we get anything from the Lord worth contending for, then the devil comes to seek us.
When the enemy meets us at the threshold of any great work for God, let us accept it as “a token of salvation,” and claim double blessing, victory, and power. Power is developed by resistance. The cannon carries twice as far because the exploding power has to find its way through resistance. The way electricity is produced in the powerhouse yonder is by the sharp friction of the revolving wheels. And so we shall find some day that even Satan has been one of God’s agencies of blessing.
–Days of Heaven upon Earth
A hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head winds right for royal sails.
Tribulation is the way to triumph. The valley-way opens into the highway. Tribulation’s imprint is on all great things. Crowns are cast in crucibles. Chains of character that wind about the feet of God are forged in earthly flames. No man is greatest victor till he has trodden the winepress of woe. With seams of anguish deep in His brow, the “Man of Sorrows” said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation”–but after this sob comes the psalm of promise, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
The footprints are traceable everywhere. Bloodmarks stain the steps that lead to thrones. Sears are the price of scepters. Our crowns will be wrested from the giants we conquer. Grief has always been the lot of greatness. It is an open secret.
The mark of rank in nature.
Is capacity for pain;
And the anguish of the singer
Makes the sweetest of the strain.
The personality of the Holy Spirit
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16,17
Suggested Further Reading: Acts 2:32-39
Observe here, that each person is spoken of as performing a separate office. “I will pray,” says the Son—that is intercession. “I will send,” says the Father—that is donation. “I will comfort,” says the Holy Spirit—that is supernatural influence. Oh! if it were possible for us to see the three persons of the Godhead, we should behold one of them standing before the throne with outstretched hands crying day and night, “O Lord, how long?” We should see one girt with Urim and Thummim, precious stones, on which are written the twelve names of the tribes of Israel; we should behold him crying unto his Father, “Forget not thy promises, forget not thy covenant;” we should hear him make mention of our sorrows, and tell forth our griefs on our behalf, for he is our intercessor. And if we could behold the Father, we should not see him a listless and idle spectator of the intercession of the Son, but we should see him with attentive ear listening to every word of Jesus, and granting every petition. Where is the Holy Spirit all the while? Is he lying idle? Oh, no; he is floating over the earth, and when he sees a weary soul, he says, “Come to Jesus, he will give you rest.” When he beholds an eye filled with tears, he wipes away the tears, and bids the mourner look for comfort on the cross. When he sees the tempest-tossed believer, he takes the helm of his soul and speaks the word of consolation; he helps the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds; and ever on his mission of mercy, he flies around the world, being everywhere present. Behold how the three persons work together.
For meditation: Salvation is all of God—the work is all done by him. And yet he grants to believers the privilege of being co-opted as his fellow-workers to advertise the gospel on his behalf (2 Corinthians 5:18-6: 1).
Genesis 22:1-2 1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Isaac was one of the greatest foreshadows of Christ. Throughout this story, we have pictures of what will happen in the life of Jesus. Isaac’s birth was miraculous. He is the son of promise, the only son, whom his father loved. On the mountain Moriah (the same place Jesus was sacrificed), he carried the wood for his execution. Since Abraham was well over 100, I assume the boy was willingly bound by his father, just as Jesus willingly went to the cross. We will not read of Isaac again until he receives his bride. These are amazing parallels for us to see that God is in the details and knows the end from the beginning.
In this passage, God is said to test Abraham. God does not tempt us, but He does test us (James 1:13). God will test us to strengthen our resolve and to help us realize where we are in our growth in Him. His tests help us get off the fence and stand squarely in the kingdom of God.
He calls us by name. He speaks just as clearly today as He did to Abraham. What seemed like a great burden, and to be inconsistent with God’s character, turned out to be a great blessing. It is now a great badge of honor that Abraham believed God’s promise to the extent that he knew God would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). He told his servants “WE will return to you (22:5).”
Consider: What has God promised you? Will you lay it down and trust God to bring it about in His way and time? Can you surrender it back to God, like faithful Abraham did?