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Love - The Most Excellent Way

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. And now I will show you the most excellent way. – 1Corinthians 12: 30b

    I spent the past few days watching my little brother get married to his beautiful new bride. Months of nervous energy all expended in a whirlwind weekend that was over before you could blink. Families visiting from as far away as Ireland to come witness the blessed nuptials. The hope inside the smiles that never ended this weekend is what we live for in this life. To be loved. To experience love. Poets have tried to capture the essence of true love since we have formed coherent thought. They have failed miserably as the worldly version of love is nowhere near what God intended. Love is a fleeting thing in these end days and as Jesus foretold; the love on many is growing cold. But God is love. Every thing He undertakes for us is born out of His great love for us. Love is the most excellent way and the best way for us to appreciate love as God intended is to see what He has told us about it. First of all there is the depth of the love that God has shown to us all:

    “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3: 16-17 (NLT)

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5: 8 (NIV)

    The most excellent way begins with the way God intended for His creation to be. We were meant to be in constant fellowship with God. The Bible says that Adam walked with God in the garden. It was the sin of man that separated us from our God but the Lord still wanted that intimate fellowship. He crafted a master plan to sacrifice His only Son to cover our sin debt and reunite us to Himself. If that is not enough to blow your mind, that God would send His only Son to die when we ought to be the one dying, He did this while we were yet still sinners. At the very core, deep down inside, this is what love was meant to be. Sacrificial to the point of selflessness. Not only has Jesus paid our price for our sins, but believing upon Him in faith will result in an immediate restoration of the intimate fellowship with God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Once saved by God’s enormous grace, through faith, we will have the same Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead living inside of us. Sometimes as Christians we can get things so backwards. We can view eternal life as some far off concept awaiting us if we suffer sufficiently though this life. Nonsense! Jesus said that He came to bring the abundant life now, not later. Our eternal life begins the moment we genuinely accept Jesus into our hearts. The more we relinquish of our self to Him – the stronger He is inside of us. We can once again walk in the garden with God Himself. The Lord is ever at our right hand. Don’t save Him for the really tough times or the really dark valleys. Share the good times and the mountaintops too! Share the decisions you face in life so you can seek His counsel. He wants to be the God of lives, not just our problems. As if this was not enough, the most excellent way also is means adoption:

    See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. – 1John 3: 1 (NLT)

    Love is also supposed to adoptive in nature. There is an expression that even the world embraces which is “you can’t choose your family.” The meaning therein is that in a world filled with tenuous relationships, the ones that are family are naturally stronger. Love is not meant to be something that you can discard. Besides being sacrificial to the point of selflessness, God also intended love to be adoptive to the point of permanence. How permanent?

    And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8: 38-39 (NLT)

    In this day an age people get divorced simply from being too lazy to work things out. Life is not easy all of the time beloved. Sometimes things that you really want require some work. But love the way God intended it is meant to be permanent. Look at the rock solid nature of the love God has for us. Neither life not death. Nothing from heaven or hell. Nothing from yesterday or tomorrow. Nothing in the sky or on earth. Nothing that was ever created at all can separate us from the love of God. Poets can wax eloquently about love but they do not know it the way God has designed it. Sacrificial to the point of selflessness. Adoptive to the point of permanence. Reliable to the point of absoluteness. That is the most excellent way.

    It seems that everyone reads the “love verses” from 1Corinthians 13 at their wedding. Believers and non-believers. My brother and his new wife had them read this weekend as well. The true challenge for us who still want to believe in love is that these verses were not designed to be read out for ceremony but lived out for relationship. That is surpassingly more difficult however because the list of things Paul recites are the very things we are not within our flesh. They are the very things we are not by nature. We are not kind or patient. We are jealous, boastful, proud and rude by nature. We are irritable, do want our own way and certainly keep a record of wrongs. What is God saying then when He lists these things as being the true nature of the most excellent way? He is saying that love is ultimately a choice. That we must choose to be kind and patient – not just read them at a ceremony. We must choose to resist our nature of being jealous, boastful, proud or rude when it comes to people we have chosen to love. I know, I know – that is not very poetic. That is ok though because poetry raises expectations beyond the realities of this life – God does not. Poetry keeps little girls looking for white knights and little boys hoping for that princess that simply do not exist.

    God however offers no such illusions. He understands that the most excellent way is a difficult way to follow. No one can choose to go against their human nature permanently. But we can strive for it beloved. We can realize that the people we claim to love are worth striving for. Will we succeed all of the time? Of course not because we are inescapably human. God however will always have the most excellent way open for us to get back on the right track with each other. That is what love simply does, is it not?

    My brother Desmond and his new wife Shannon leave for their honeymoon tomorrow. Their wedding was beautiful and compelling and even poetic. In the midst of the whirlwind however, God spoke to them from 1Corinthians 13. They may not have realized it when they chose these verses to be read at their ceremony. But if they will listen, God was speaking. He was telling them the most excellent way. The way to extend the honeymoon until they are old and grey and blessed by their children’s children. It is the love the way God intended it to be. It is the way that God loves us and expects us to try and love each other. It is sacrificial to the point of selflessness. That means after God – the other person comes first. You come last. That is selflessness by definition. That is sacrificial at its core. That is love.

    Secondly, love is adoptive to the point of permanence. You adopt each other with the understanding that this choice is not a fragile one. It is rock solid. I would suggest that all of the folks who say they “fell out of love” have simply read too much poetry. How permanent is the love of God? I think of the thief on the cross next to Christ. He was potentially seconds away from death; a death he deserved according to his life. Yet he reached out to God and Jesus said that He would see paradise with Him that very day. Love always restores and forgives. There is a permanence to it that says “never give up.” I know that is a passé message in the time we are living in where divorce is celebrated and commitment is mocked but the most excellent way is not necessarily the most traveled.

    Lastly, love is reliable to the point of absoluteness. The first characteristic dealt with the nature of love and the second with the duration. This deals with the assuredness of love. It should be the one constant in an inconsistent world. It should be the one thing you know that you know that you know you can rely upon. That is why it is the most excellent way. I know in this life no matter how deep my valley gets that God does not love me any less. I know that no matter how badly I might mess up that God does not love me less. There is nothing that can separate me from the love of God – NOTHING. The Bible says that none can be plucked from His hand. That is the assuredness of the most excellent way. That is how we were meant to love.

    Selflessly sacrificial, permanently adoptive and absolutely reliable. I pray that these facets of God’s design for love are manifest in the marriage of my brother and Shannon as well as for us all moving forward in this life. Let us put aside the poetry and grasp the truth of God’s Word. That there is another way. It is a better way. Today, let God show you the most excellent way.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – September 24, 2012

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