THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE
How could I write a book about God and leave out His greatest quality, love. Godís love is unlike anything weíve ever experienced, because Godís love is unconditional. There are no Iíll love you if, or because of love associated with our heavenly father. There is only I love you period, and thatís the kind of love I love to love. This kind of love has very little to do with feelings or emotions, but it is chock-full of hard work. For humans it is a stressful kind of love, because there are no rewards associated with it. It is endless giving and no receiving; therefore, Agape Love would be considered an antiquated lifestyle that doesnít fit within the walls of love established by this world. The best way to describe this love is Jesus, Godís one true son. For God so loved the world that he sent us his son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Even though this kind of love is rarely seen here in this world, there are extraordinary events that allow its light to occasionally shine forth. Unfortunately those extraordinary events are usually some kind of natural or manmade disaster. Yes it take the power of a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado; or, the devastation of a war or a terrorist bomb to set this love into motion. But once Agape Love starts flowing watch out. It consumes people, places and things as if it were molten lava flowing from the lips of a volcano. As it flows down off its peak of disaster it melts the coldest, hardest hearts of even the worst cynics, while acting as a Balm of Gilead to the suffering souls of the afflicted. People begin to give from the depths of their hearts with little regard as to whatís in it for them. Clothes, food, medical supplies, volunteers, all start flooding into the area bringing a ray of hope to an otherwise world of gloom. Isnít that Godís Love? Isnít that Agape Love?
My heart aches when I hear people ask where God was when such and such a thing happened? Didnít he care about the loss of innocent lives? How could a God of love allow, or cause this to happen? Could this be Godís vengeance on a world gone amiss? My answer to those who truly seek an answer is; God didnít cause these things to happen, we did! Remember that little thing that mankind perpetrated in the Garden of Eden? You know, when we wanted to be like god, knowing good and evil. That is the cause for all the heartache and affliction in the world. We fell from grace when we decided to become godlike and take control of our own lives. In Jamesí letter, chapter 1, verse 13 it says, " When tempted, no one should say, ĎGod is tempting me.í For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death." That is why bad things are happening all about us, because we chose, for ourselves, the path we wished to take. And that path, without God, is a path of death and destruction.
Glory be to God, though, that after evil happens he sends forces of righteousness into the area to fight the forces of darkness, and reclaim it for good. God wasnít in the evil or devastation that occurred, he was in the aftermath of help that rebuilt. Donít be diverted from running the good race. When God decides to judge this world and condemns it for the evil it has done youíll be the first to know. There will be no question when God exerts his majesty and awe setting into motion the final act of love towards this world; that being, the re-establishment of his kingdom among his people.
Evil, like death, is the great equalizer of all mankind. It doesnít matter how rich, or poor, how great or small, evil has a way of affecting us all. Our response to evilís attack is the answer to whether evil will win, against us, or not. If we immediately turn it over to God, and ask God to soften our hearts, evil will loss. If we allow evil to fester and grow within us, making our hearts callous and cold, we allow evil to win. Again, Iíd like to bring your attention to the reason for this chapter, love. If we are truly Christís disciples, recognized by the love we have for one another, evil stands no chance. We are conquers over the dark side of the force. But if we are like the seed that was planted among the thorns, I fear our evil attacker will choke us to death and we will fail. We will be the Darth Vaders of this world, lurking in the shadows ready to extent the forces of evil. Remember, misery loves company!
I know you must be asking yourselves, why is he talking so much about evil when the point behind this chapter is love? My response is, wasnít the greatest act of love demonstrated through the evil of the cross. Is it not easier to make evident the power and greatness of love when it is placed next to its antithesis, evil/hatred? Cannot love conquer evil, or as Peter says cover a multitude of sins?
Saint Paul, in his famous teaching on love ends with the following verse: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I never really understood this, but now I think I do. You see faith is the ability to believe in things unseen, and hope is the longing for the truth, but love puts faith and hope into action. Love is the labor of a people who have never seen and yet believe in a hope for a greater tomorrow.
Love was also the action God took to save this lost and desolate world. His love was sent to this world to die for all those who put their faith and hope in him. Jesus was Godís action (love) who took upon himself the sin of this world, so that anyone who believes in him will have everlasting life with the father. What greater hope can we have? What greater source of salvation is there to put your faith in? What greater act of love is there then for a friend to lay down his life for a friend?
Can Godís love be measured? I personally donít know of any vessel large enough to hold it. For it was Godís love that set this world into being; it was Godís love that established a covenant with Abraham; and finally, it was Godís love that sent a redeemer to the world. When Satan attacks you with the thought that you are unlovable, donít believe him. When evil and pain attempt to rob your soul of the love God has for you, and you have for God, donít let it. And finally let love be the catalyst that allows your faith to be seen, and your hope to be learned about Jesus Christ, Godís son, who came into the world to set the heartís of the captives free!