The Love That Messes With Us

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41Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. John 12:41-43

Glory. Praise. Adulation. Affirmation. Acceptance. Applause. Being in.

We usually discover our love for the glory of people when we find ourselves on the outside or when we find our status threatened. This is a love that will mess us up. The insecurity will create a whirlwind of self-destruction. It kept the Pharisees who believed in Jesus from identifying with Him. It will keep us from saying to Jesus Christ, “I am affectionately yours.”

This love for the applause of people will mess us up. We crave their delight. In fact when they cheered we thought we were becoming somebody; but then we learned their praise is conditional. They could never bear the weight of our soul and our soul could never bear the weight of their demands.

Looking to Jesus, we hear his invitation to life and the glory of God. We can see how He lived in the Belovedness of the Heavenly Father’s glory, praise, affirmation, acceptance, and applause. When Jesus experienced the unbelief, rejection, condemnation, dishonour, and contempt of people He framed it in a larger problem and He abided in His relationship with the Father.

44And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.46I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.47If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.48The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.49For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” John 12:44-50

The world and even our friends will not see us through the lens of our affection for Jesus Christ when our obedience to Jesus runs counter to what they want. They cannot. Paul insisting on the Gospel of grace in Christ, would write of this challenge of understanding motives when he says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Did you see it? The love for the glory of people will enslave us. The love for the glory of God through the grace of Jesus Christ will usher us into His freedom.

 

The kiss of love

Scripture:  1 Peter 5:12-14

12By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14Greet one another with the kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Observations:

Peter encourages them to greet one another “with the kiss of love.”

Application:

I have a friend who regularly greets me with a slap on the back or a chest bump!  Its all about the affection and the happiness of seeing each other.  In general Canadian culture is not predisposed to greetings with kisses… or even hugs!  However, the spirit of this command remains for us.

I think Peter must have remembered how Jesus was betrayed by a kiss from Judas.  (Luke 22:47-48)  The contrast is striking.  The followers of Jesus as beneficiaries of His death and resurrection now greet each other with a kiss that recalls the great expense paid for their fellowship.  And thus our kin-ship in the church is based not just on affinity and blood-line, but on the grace of our Lord.

Because of Jesus, may our greetings of other brothers and sisters in Christ be infused with real affection for each other.  So… let’s warm it up and let the love and brotherhood we feel with Jesus into our relationships with others in His church.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for moving toward us and expressing your love for us in real ways.  Help us build the kind of friendships and relationships together in your churches that honour Jesus.  AMEN.