Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: Love Being Perfected
By Tonya Pope
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Somewhere along the way, I lost site of that and bad seeds were planted into my life that I allowed to stay there rather than being uprooted. Maybe it was because of a lack of knowledge. I didn’t realize that people can plant negativity into your life, and that each person is ultimately responsible for what he or she allows to stay in their life. Rather than continuing to see the good, I allowed the negativity to stay and it grew into a choking thorn bush. I was after all a baby Christian when this transition took place. Isn’t it funny that a person can find more love in the world than he can find more among Christians? Uh-Oh…I almost reverted back to that critical spirit that I am trying so hard to leave behind.
I have a way of being very blunt, and just telling it like it is without walking in love. It’s so easy to point out the wrong all the time. Where is love in being critical and negative?
I guess I became like Saul/Paul. When Saul was knocked off his horse, Jesus asked him, “Why are you persecuting me?”
That’s exactly what I was doing; I was persecuting the church, the body of Christ, with my negative words and comments and my holier than thou attitude. I became a Pharisee of the Pharisees by taking on that same spirit and mind set that the Pharisees were known for.
There are so many things that we put so much stock into as Christians…the tongues, the prophecies, the knowledge, the woo-woo mysterious mystics…it all serves a purpose, but if we don’t have love, then it is worthless. We can do all the right things and say all the right words and be so super spiritual that we completely miss it, because we don’t love our brothers and sisters. We, including myself, become so preoccupied with appearances that we forget to love the hurting and dying people sitting on the pew next to us.
A few months ago, God brought me to 1 Corinthians 13, and my assignment is to reflect on it daily, because there is still a lot of reshaping that God is doing in my life. God wants me to return to my first love.
I can hold every position in the church…and somehow, I do hold many, but what does it profit me? Without love I am nothing. Without love, I can’t enter in. The verse about, “but God, I prophesied in Your name, I cast out devils in your name….” I did all these things, “I sang on the Praise and Worship Team, I counseled people, I prayed 3 times per day, facing east, and I fasted, and I, and I, and I…” “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.”
It’s all about relationship. What have I in heaven, but love? Love is what it all hinges on. Love is what brings people into the kingdom; love is what gets me in. God is love, and he who loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. The first fruit of the Spirit is love. Perfect love casts out all fear. My relationship with God, my entering into His kingdom, all hinges on love. If I don’t love my brother who I see, how can I love God who I don’t see? I am on a mission to get this love thing down. I hate being critical, I hate being negative. Granted, I can’t please everybody, but I can walk in love. Love will cause me to be blameless before God and man.
Everything else, tongues, prophesies, knowledge, is useful, for this season while we are here on earth. The only thing we can take with us is love. The grass withers and the flower fades, but love will last forever. Love is the only eternal thing we have.
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