Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SELF LESS [Victory Church series on True Love]

Less of me.
More of God.


February is just a month, but because of Valentines Day, it has been a month most dreaded (by singles or those who are bitter or hurt over failed relationships) or anticipated (by couples). It is a celebration of 'Love'. But like a slumbook question, what is love? What really is love? Do we really know what love is? It is a very common word we take for granted, but only few of us take time to think and analyze our attitudes about love, in how we seek it, how we give it, and how we use it.

Love
Most of us think of love as finding the perfect partner to live with for the rest of our lives, then we will be happy. But we are so busy and desperate to look for it! But how can we know what love is if we don't know who love is? In the Christian perspective, the answer to the question of true love can only be found in the Gospel, and true love can't be found in this world but in the person of Christ.

We often hear the saying 'follow your heart', but the Bible says that the heart is deceitful. It fools us into thinking that we will be happy if we do certain things, but sometimes what the heart decides at the moment is not the best decision for the long-term. We must begin to learn what God wants and loves. What we need is not love, but the message of the Gospel that can change our hearts that deceive to hearts of truth.

We must first 'fall in love' with God, and experience this love and only then can we have genuine love for other people. We show our love for God by following Him and letting go of our old selves and our old sinful ways. We will realize the things that hold us back from the true potential that God has for us.

"Don't even think about love if you can't even see the love of God."

Marriage
Marriage is a symbol of Christ's love for the church.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21-27)
Relationships
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. (Ephesians 5:3-5)
God wants people to lead pure lives free of sexual immorality. The Bible doesn't condone sex, but sex has its rightful place in marriage. The world has been successful in corrupting sex, with media telling us that its okay to indulge in our desires. Everywhere, sex is promoted: pornography, magazines, movies, and TV.

But Paul is very clear in saying that "You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God." The Pastor didn't condemn whoever in the audience was impure, he only told us what the Bible says. We are not called to imitate the world and its values, but God and his values. There are people who claim to be Christians, yet still live a contradictory life.

This was a difficult message, as sex is often mistaken as love. Friends tell of painful stories of anger and regret about relationships where the other partner encouraged sex 'to make the relationship last' or 'to prove love'. But for me, if a person loves you, he or she will not force you to abandon your values. The other person, for me, is the selfish one and doesn't really love you but loves the physical intimacy. As Joshua Harris pointed out, the other person forcing sex as a 'proof of love' is saying, "I don't care about you, your convictions, or how this could hurt you - satisfy my desire!"

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris has been widely debated over on its dating advice, but I agree on his points about purity. Purity starts in the thought and in the heart. We can't do this by ourselves, God can help us. But we must also do our part in avoiding inappropriate media and too-romantic situations. Some people think that as long as they don't cross the line of actual sexual contact, all touching is allowed. But even a simple kiss can awaken feelings and desires, and everything can go downhill in temptation.
“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.” 
God always defines love by pointing to His Son. This was the only way our sins could be forgiven. The innocent One took the place of the guilty - He offered himself up to death so that we could have eternal life. God's perfect love for a fallen world is most clearly seen in the death of his Son.
Compassion
Once we accepted Christ into our lives, we are living in eternal life, here and now. We are so concerned with our worldly matters: how people think of us, the latest clothes, fads, and trends. We also must live in the world, but in the end there is only one thing to be concerned about: Christ, spreading the message of the Gospel, and helping more people turn to Him. When we live this way, life has become simpler. ✙

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