So, yesterday I was reading the “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Because of weddings, this is probably one of the most well known chapters in The Bible, right there next to John 3.
Most of you, whether you are a believer or not, have probably heard these verses at one point or another. You may even have a few of them memorized simply because you have heard “Love is patient, Love is kind, it does not envy, it doesn’t boast and it isn’t proud” so many times. (1 Corin 13:4)
Though we may be well versed on those scriptures, The Lord showed me something yesterday that I never paid attention to before. The description of love doesn’t stop with not being envious, proud or boastful. It goes on to say “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corin 13:5-6)
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. This was so interesting to me because that is not the definition of love we get from our culture, and even some “church members” these days. When we think about love now it’s always wrapped up in intense emotions and anything that makes a person feel good.
What’s even more interesting is another scripture where Jesus says “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” John 14:15
He didn’t say if you love me, you will feel tingles in worship.
He didn’t say if you love me, you will feel happy all the time.
He didn’t say if you love me, you will do what makes you feel good.
He said, if you love me you will OBEY me. Yeesh. That doesn’t sound like the Disney princess, fairy tale type of love we are used to hearing about. So, how on earth does Jesus relate our obedience to our affections for Him?
Well, in 1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16 we learn that God is not a type of love. He is the epitome of love itself. He is the perfect expression of what true, authentic love is. In John 15:4-5, we see that we are to abide in Jesus and through Him we will produce much fruit. He is the vine and we are the branches. So, the “product” of our relationship will be producing fruit. What kind of fruit you might ask?
The fruit of The Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 which is LOVE, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. So, one of the things we should have as a result of being in relationship with Jesus is love. Not a worldly type of love that is self focused, but the type of love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13.
This is where it all comes full circle. Because God is the essence of love, if we are truly following and abiding in Christ, we will produce the fruit of His love. That love will be patient, kind and not delight in evil but rejoice in the truth.
So, if we are walking with Him and claim that we love Him, but refuse to obey His commands, we are not walking in love. You cant walk in true love and rejoice in evil… aka your own sin.
We may have good feelings towards God, but in reality, those emotions are “fruitless” if they don’t lead to repentance and a quest for holiness.
Emotions can draw you to Christ, but they will not give you the discipline to follow Him.
Feelings will not sustain you when everyone around you is saying “Just try it. Come on. Everyone else is doing it.”
Having feelings for Jesus isn’t enough. He said it very clearly, if you LOVE me, you will obey my commands. If you are walking with Him and producing a real, authentic love out of that relationship, you will not be able to rejoice in evil. You will not be able to continually sin and be OK with it. That is not the type of love He produces. That is not love at all.
I believe it was John Piper who said “One important difference between a Christian and a non-believer is that Christians are at war with our sin.”
Christians will always be capable of sin, because we have free will.
Christians will always be tempted into sin, because the devil is a defeated foe and has no other way to gain access to our lives.
A very huge difference in the follower of Christ and everyone else is that we are tired of our sin. We no longer rejoice in it. We are over it and see it for what it is. It doesn’t mean the temptation isn’t there. It certainly doesn’t mean we never slip up and give into it.
It does mean our affections are set on Christ and instead of being a slave to emotions that lead us to sin and death, we call on the power of Christ to lead us to Him and to freedom from sin.
Friend, may I share a tough truth with you today? If you think you “love” Jesus, and are eyeballs deep in sin and have no plans to change it, you need to question your love for Him. Don’t look to me for guidance on this. Look to Him. He, The One who died on the cross to save you from sin, is The One who said “If you love me you will obey my commands.”
He didn’t die so you could stay trapped in evil ways of living for the rest of your life. Todd White often says “Jesus didn’t die to get you INTO heaven. He died to get heaven IN you.” So, that leaves us with some questions.
Do we love God as much as we think we do?
Are we willing to give up our ties to evil and worldly pleasures for the sake of Christ?
An even deeper question would be…. Is He worth it to you? Is the relationship you have with Him worth the cost of obedience?
To give us a chance at having a relationship with him, it cost Him His life. So, I’ll leave us with thinking about if we are willing to give the same in return.
🕊♥ Beloved Rejoice.