Thursday, October 26, 2006

Love or Obedience?

Sometimes it's just hard to love.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love others as ourselves. We know that, and we long to obey. But it's not easy.

Biblical love toward others isn't an emotion, a warm-fuzzy feeling. Biblical love, according to 1 Cor. 13, acts in specific ways for the best interest of the one loved. Likewise, Biblical love toward God is exemplified in obedience.

John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments

In one of the great mysteries of the kingdom, sometimes we have to ACT before we FEEL. Sometimes despite all our desire to be motivated by love, it's gut-level obedience that gets us to the point where that love moves from actions to heart-level.

Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch Christian imprisoned in a concentration camp during WWII, told a beautiful story of facing one of her captors after a German church service. The man came to her as a new brother in Christ asking forgiveness. Corrie related that she simply could not find it in her - her heart was cold. Yet she quickly spoke to the Lord and asked for His strength ... and she recounted that as she raised her arm to shake the man's hand she still felt nothing, but simply forgave out of obedience. At the moment she grasped his hand, she felt the love flow through her -- a love she knew was from God.

In "Why We Go", Samuel Moffett talks about this tension for missionaries. Quoting C.S. Lewis, Moffett writes, "We do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because we have never attempted obedience." He expounds, "God is love, but it is obedience that forges, focuses, and incarnates that love into a mission....We know the way. God promises the power. Our part is to obey."

Has God placed you in an assignment where you are struggling to develop the love you know you need for your people group? Do you wonder why God moved you from a place of service where love came easily into one where you fervently are begging Him for it? Walk out the obedience, and ask Him to infuse you with His love. Jesus assures us that walking in obedience is the path to abiding in His love.

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

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