Today, it is certain that in the United States of America, we live in a divided country. Conservatives verses Liberals; Blacks verses Whites; Straights verses Gays–however you may want to divide it or whichever one you may put first , we are a divided nation.
There has always been divisions and frictions; you get that when you live in the same space with someone else, as in the family household. But in the family household you are to make allowance for someone else. You learned to adjust and to tolerate one another. I don’t see that very much anymore in our society. The Bible says that a house divided shall not stand (Mark 3:25).
This situation concerns me. But what concerns me even more is a growing number of Christian brothers and sisters acting as if the Lord is no longer on His throne and we have no one to turn to. May this be a friendly reminder: It’s OK! God is still sovereign and He is still working His plan for this planet and this nation and for this people. Nothing is shocking or taking Him by surprise!
In the last couple of days, I have been reminded of a passage from 1 Corinthians 13 (verses from the NKJV). 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love” chapter in the Bible. Before I share the verses, let me remind you that in the New Testament, there are three Greek words used for our English word Love. The first of these, is the word Phileo. This is a brotherly affectionate love. Philadelphia, PA (the city of brotherly love) gets it’s name from this word. The second word is Eros. This is a sexual love. The third word is Agape. This word is a deep, consistent love used to describe God’s love for us. This is the word used in this chapter.
When Love is Absent
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
The Apostle Paul uses the phrase “but have not love” three times in these verses. Christian brothers and sisters, when you discuss the things that are going on in our nation, is there Agape love in your attitude and the tone of your voice or is it the cry of the crowd “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”? He goes on to say we can have all the knowledge and faith, but without love “I am nothing.” Do you remember the Lord gave you the ability to understand spiritual things? And then he says that I can be as charitable and given as anybody and even sacrifice myself, but if I don’t have God’s love, it profits me nothing.
When Love Is Present
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
I don’t think I need to go over this passage except to say you will see evidence of God’s love in our life and how we get along with even people we disagree with. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, to go the extra mile, to do good to them. We may not always achieve that, but are we even trying to anymore?
A Mature Love
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
As we grow older, it is expected that we become more mature and attain a degree of wisdom. I’m convinced, at some point, the Lord will sit down with us, face to face, and explain how things are to us. We may not get the message on this side of Jordan, but we will get the message someday. Are we showing Agape love in our decision making and in our conversation? Do you think that is what the Lord expects from us?
A Resting Love
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The word “abide” means to rest or to be comfortable. For the believer, we can have faith in the sovereignty of God and that He does all things well; we can have hope in the future. He will take care of us (Psalm 37:25). And we can demonstrate the same love that God has shown to us to those who need it so badly.
Perhaps you have lost focus of what our calling is. Do you recall the words written by Helen Lemmel in her song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”? She wrote “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”
Will you do that? Our hope is in the Lord, not in what goes on here. Please don’t be a clanging cymbal.