Too Much Love

I grow tired of the debates we have in many of our Christian communities (if you can call them that). People who call themselves followers of Christ seem to find the most incredible things to fuss over. We complain about the size, temperature and color of the building. We question whether “so-and-so” should be reading Scripture or singing in the choir. We fight over whether the pastor should preach about Christian living or focus on biblical prophecy.

From the outside looking in, we must look ridiculous. People don’t even know who Jesus is much less what Zechariah had to say about Him. The only glimpse they get of Jesus is our un-Christian display of disunity and bitterness. We can’t even follow God in the present, what makes us think focusing on the future will make it any different? Some say, “But 27 percent of the Bible is prophecy, so it must be important to God.” Yes, but 100 percent of the Bible is about God’s love. What are we doing about that?

Of all the commands in Scripture, Jesus boils it down to how we love – God and others (Matt. 22:37-40). When Paul concludes his thoughts in 1 Corinthians 13, he says what remains is faith, hope and love. Do you recall which one he said was the greatest? (Go ahead and look it up if you aren’t sure.) When Jesus gave his disciples a “new” command, he said, “Love one another.” Not just any love. Jesus says, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). Our love for one another should mirror the love that we’ve received from Jesus. If that’s true, then perhaps the state of our so-called Christian communities is one in which no one has a clue about the love of Jesus.

It makes me wonder how many have, in faith, received His gift of love. In 1 John 4:16 we read, “God is love. Whoever lives love lives in God, and God in him.” If we are truly Christians, then love is our greatest ambition. It is not that we know all sorts of facts about God and have the most accurate timeline of the end times. Let’s take a look at Verse 17. “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.” So, even in the end, our only confidence is in knowing and displaying the love of Jesus Christ.

When people look at our Christian communities, how do they know that we are followers of Jesus? By our rigorous Bible studies? We all should diligently study God’s Word, and the end of that study should be a deeper, more tangible love. By our constant bickering with one another? We should love the whole world (John 3:16), but it makes even more logical sense to love our brothers and sisters (1 John 4:21). Jesus, as usual, boiled it down for us very simply. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

When Jesus comes back, I pray we aren’t complaining about our gatherings being too hot, too cold, too loud, too bright, too preachy, too shallow or too deep. Our highest ambition should be to have people say of our communities that there is just too much love. If someone were to say to me, “You love people too much,” I would be greatly encouraged. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Such love should overflow our own hearts and bring peace and hope to all who come into our lives. It is by our love, not our words, that we most clearly reflect our relationship with Jesus.

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