Sunday, 31 May 2015

Love one another as I have loved you

 
When I first came to the Lord poems and songs just dropped into my mind, some of them were almost like questions that I believe the Lord could have been asking me.   I always thought that I had a fair amount of love for people, and did have to a certain degree.   The problem was that it was 'human love', which is conditional. 
 

The following is one of those poems that revealed to me many things that my 'love' was lacking when compared to the love that is required by Jesus in John ch. 13 v. 34:-
' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.'


 
So you think you have love

So you think you have love son of Adam
you think that you're gentle and kind
'til your wife leaves you for another
and the hate drives you out of your mind

And you think that you're patient - long suffering
.... you can tolerate everyone
'til a tramp who is filthy comes near you
and you feel like you want to run

Can you say that you're really forgiving
that you're filled with mercy and grace
can you truly say there is no evil thought
behind your smiling face?

So you think you have love son of Adam
you think that you've been set free
Then brother I've one thing to ask you
.... Would you die for me?

When I examined myself against the words of this poem I could see that there was a vast difference between what I thought was 'love' and what 'love' is according to God.  The Lord does not ask us to physically die as He did, but we have to spiritually 'die' to our carnal self, 'For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.' Romans ch. 8 v. 6. 

So what is love?  1 Corinthians 13 vs. 4 - 7 gives this interpretation of love:-
'Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.'

I realized I fell very short of this kind of love in most areas.    Regarding 'patience', I believed that I could tolerate much.  However, when I looked up the word 'patience' in the dictionary and saw the meaning as 'the ability to endure with calmness', I realized that many of the things that I could endure were done not with 'calmness', but with gritted teeth.
I asked the Lord to help me in this area and within a very short time I had a job working as a carer in a residential home for the elderly.  I could not have been in a better place to learn patience.

 
We have to have our minds renewed in Christ:- 'that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.Ephesians ch. 4 vs. 22 - 24, learning line upon line, precept upon precept, as we are taught by the Holy Spirit. 
 
Jesus says 'If you love Me, keep my commands.'  That is not the ten commandments of the law, because there is not one person on earth who could gain 'righteousness' through the keeping of the  old testament law.  We would fail miserably through spiritual weakness, and we need  the Holy Spirit to help us, as Jesus states in John ch. 16 v. 8:- 'And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:'. 

Jesus is the Word of God, and keeping Jesus' commands is to ' be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.'  James ch. 1 v. 22 , and this can only come about through having our minds renewed in Christ. '  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.' Romans ch. 12 v. 2 .

Sometimes we may find it hard to love one another, depending on what we each focus on, and look for, in our brothers and sisters.  However, the Lord has made us all different for a reason, and those differences should not divide, they should unite.  God made the cactus, a very prickly plant.  Yet it can supply water to a person who finds himself in a desert.

I have always loved blackberries, and when I was a child I was brought up on the edge of a town.  One of my favourite pastimes was to go into the countryside and pick them.   My husband loves blackberries too, but hates the bramble, as demonstrated a few days ago when bushes from a field behind our bungalow were intruding over the back garden wall.



  
 
There were brambles amongst the bushes, and they were beginning to flower.  I had to stay out there and watch him constantly as he trimmed the bushes, to make sure he did not cut the brambles too.  Without the fruit, he saw them only as a prickly plant.




Many people might think of the bramble from the thorny point of view, forgetting that it bears a beautiful fruit, and sometimes we can see a brother or sister in the Lord in a similar way, but it may be that they have a certain type of personality to be used by the Lord in a particular way to reach similar people.  We are all different, yet joined as one in the Lord.



Through plants like the rose and the bramble I am taught not to judge by what I see, for according to when I look I only see a small part of the picture of what they fully are, God sees the whole picture.

The Bramble                            


 
God made everything on Earth
and saw that it was good
'though man will often judge between
the silver and the wood
To be counted as nothing or great in man's book
matters not in our Father's esteem
for He's made every creature  with purpose in mind 
regardless of how it might seem
And whether mighty or humble -rich or poor 
our God desires nothing should waste
for even the bramble bears a beautiful rose
and a fruit that is good to the taste



I am still learning to 'love' in the way that the Lord asks me to in John ch. 13 v. 34, and have been tested through many trials regarding this, but I welcome the change that only the Lord could bring about through His teaching, as I have my mind renewed in Him.