Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love is NOT Popular

Immediately you are thinking I am a lunatic.  You are saying to yourself, "Love is the most popular thing in our culture Bozo!"  You would have a good point.  I mean, after all, what good movie doesn't have a love story? What song isn't about love? What major Disney movie isn't centered around some fantastical idea that love will save everything? A kiss for sleeping beauty.  An act of selflessness for Anna.  A deep longing for Cinderella to break free of her rags and find true love.  etc. etc. etc.  And there is good reason that love is seemingly so popular in the entertainment industry.  We all want to be loved.  We all want someone to think we are special, to spend time with us, to be there for us.  There is a hole in each one of our hearts that we look to be filled.  We get married to fill that hole hoping our significant other can make us feel like Jasmine and sweep us off around the world! We try to be popular, to say the right things, so that maybe, just maybe, we can feel love and accepted.  But can we be honest with ourselves for a second? That's not love.  That's jealousy.  That's fear.  That's pride.

God doesn't command us to be loved.  He already took care of that part! He commands US to love!  One of my favorite sections in the bible is 1 John 4:7-21.  It is all about what this love stuff truly means.  And in verse 11, John writes,

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

First off, we are beloved! BELOVED! The word for beloved in Greek is ’Αγαπητοί or Agapetoi which is a broad usage of the word Agapetos, an adjective meaning to be divinely loved.  You might remember it being used when the Spirit of God descends on Jesus getting baptized and a voice from heaven says "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".  John goes on to reference us as 'beloved' 6 times in 1 John.  Its as if he is hammering in a point.  You. Are. Loved.  In Romans 9, Paul references Hosea, and says a rather powerful statement.

"Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God''

Again... You. Are. Loved. 

We don't need to be rescued from a tall tower, or go to the great ball, or have a thousand facebook friends, or have a girlfriend, or be liked.  God. so. loved. us.    ... love one another.  

People are gonna let you down.  It's the hardest truth to learn in this life.  That friend you have at school right now? He/She might decide to start spending time with some person who just moved into town and slowly leave you alone.  That boy/girlfriend you have that treats you so nice and makes you feel cherished? They might not want to be with you anymore.  They might lie and gossip about you.  You might not get invited to a hangout. You might. You might. You might. I am so sick and tired of mights.  You. Are. Loved.  

Everyone wants to believe in love - but when it comes down to actually loving people, love is not popular.  Serving someone's need without any expectation of return is not popular.  Bringing that really awkward guy into your circle of friends and making him feel cherished is not popular.  Making sure your wife has a closer relationship with the Lord than with you is not popular.  

We are creatures of flesh.  We claim to want to love but in our hearts we fight the giant of selfishness.  And then when we don't get what our selfish hearts want, we get depressed.  'woe is me'.   Nobody likes me.  Nobody wants me.  And we fall back into it again.  The fear of rejection.  The pride of entitlement.  The envy that's always wanting what all your facebook friends seem to be getting.  

How do we fight that? How do we not care what others are going to do to us or what this world is going to dish out at us, and instead love one another? We do it by continuously filling that hole with the truth of God's love.  

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-39

Nothing will separate us from the love of God.  May we remind ourselves of that every morning as we fight the motives of our flesh.  And may we began to truly love one another offering our service, our friendship, our selfless love, and our light of Christ.  Forget being popular, we are more than conquerors! We can overcome our tendencies because He overcame! We can love, because He loved.

There is freedom in that