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Fruits of the Spirit VS. The World: Love

May 23, 2012

This is part one of a series that will continue on until it is finished or I forget about it.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 6:6, NKJV)

I’ve returned to the blogospher after a long absence. I was assailed on all sides by several enemies, most notably the Philosophy 101 final and the ENGW 103 Research Paper, but I remembered the verse from Second Hesitations: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of final exams, I will fear no evil.”

Love. It’s a pretty vague word. It reminds me of what my high-school English teacher used to say: “Don’t use the word ‘good.’ It’s a fluff word.” “Love” can be used to mean anything we want it too. “I love my wife.” “I just loved that movie with Ryan Reynolds.” “Mmm mmm mm mm mm: I’m lovin’ it.” Love becomes an excuse for selfishness: “I know it’s wrong to [insert sin here], but I just love her too much.” Selfish love can become something that strangles people instead of liberating them. If you go and listen to the radio, you can hear all different kinds of love. Meat Loaf famously sang, “I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that.” Marylin Manson sang about “tainted love,” while Rihanna sang, “I love the way you lie.” And of course, the greatest problem, as showcased by Eminem and Lil’ Wayne, is that too many times there’s just “No Love.”

     The world recognizes a need for love. Yet they often reject the very love they need.

     When Jesus came to earth, he didn’t invent love, but he revolutionized it. Jesus’ idea of love was what he based his entire thought system around: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting love.” The idea of a religion based on Sacrificial Love was new to the ancient world. Ba’al did not send his only Son to die for the world. No one ever talked about the “Love of Heracles” washing away our sins. Zeus never washed anyone’s feet. Jesus’ idea of love was so strange to the world that it shocked them. And it still does. Jesus said things about love that are revolutionary still today. For example, “God is Love.” This by its very nature means that God is relational–he cannot exist outside of a relationship, in his case the relationship between the members of the Trinity. Or “perfect love casts out fear.” If you look at the world today, you will find a lot of fear, often disguised as defiance or cynicism. Jesus said that the only way to overcome fear is not to deny its existence or live like a self-sufficient stoic, but to have a relationship with God. And what about “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This idea was crazy back in the first century. Did Achilleus’ lay down his life to save Telemonian Aias? Of course not! It’s still crazy now. And it’s true.

     The world needs love, but since the world is opposed to the Gospel, it still tries to keep away from love. Yet the world still needs and wants the love that only Christ can bring. The key to spreading the Kingdom of God is not better conferences or more extravagansical rallies or a four-point plan. It’s the love of Christ.

“Scott Earned the Power of Love.”

Current Listenings: The Shelter, Jars of Clay, Wounded Healer, The Followers, and whatever bad 80s music the car radio happens to be playing.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2012 4:27 pm

    Bonus points for Scott Pilgrim.

    • May 25, 2012 2:53 pm

      Scott earned the power of self-respect! Which, oddly, meant confessing his sins…

      • May 25, 2012 5:24 pm

        True dat. That was a sketchy movie for my tastes, but it had its good points.

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