Sunday, May 29, 2005

What's Love Got to Do With It?

NOTE: This is a message for my single brothers and sisters. God gave me this message before I was married, and I was reading back through it, I felt lead to share it with you.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The True Meaning of Love in Ordained Relationships

Lord, is he the one? When will it be my turn? God, you said that it is not good for a man to be alone. I’ve been faithful to you, Father. You said that if I’d seek first the kingdom of God, all other things would be added. Then, you’d reward me by granting the desires of my heart.

As a single Christian woman, I often find myself having these sort of conversations with God. Sitting under the instruction of the Word along with the society in which we live, it is almost impossible to believe that anyone wants to be alone. Atop of this obvious obstacle, there lies a grand ordeal set before every single Christian – do I settle for what I want, or do I wait to see what God gives me?

The problem that tends to bombard church-going singles is that of impatience. Within our spirits, we know that God must choose, but when He doesn’t move within our rendition of a reasonable time frame, we become anxious and decide to ‘help’ Him by searching for our own mates and using the standards of the world to do so. Such actions result from our failure to remember that “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). One of my favorite evangelists is the Bishop Noel Jones. While preaching at a Bishop T.D. Jakes Singles’ Conference, he drew a conclusion on the subject by stating something like the following:

God already knows what we need, and he knows what ‘turns us on.’ That’s why Adam was asleep when God made Eve. When he woke up, he was pleased. God already knew what Adam desired. God works the same way now as he did then.

Prophetess Juanita Bynum touched on the same subject while in the same conference and added the following:

Our problem is that we tend to choose what we want NOW. What turns us on NOW. That’s why God has to choose. He will provide someone who can accommodate where you’re going, so that five years down the road, you won’t be saying, ”Well, we just grew apart...”

With these preliminary thoughts on the table, the subject of love, which is (or should be) the foundation of all relationships, should be studied and analyzed from God’s point of view. Perhaps after this is done, we will be able to determine what characteristics and priorities are important to God as opposed to those that are important to the flesh.

It’s obvious that born-again believers are not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). After all, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)? Though the principle is well known, it is not sufficiently understood. We are supposed to love everyone with the love of God, so why is our Father concerned about those we are bound with? After all, if he loves me...

In order to address this issue, one must “rightly divide the Word of truth” by defining love as it appears in the eyes of God. Consider the following passage from 1 John 4: 7, 8:

“...for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

According to John, God is exclusively and inclusively the concept and being of love. In other words, He is the very definition of love. So, in order to act in or express true love, one must know something about it, which means that one must know, or have a relationship with our heavenly Father. This conclusion is deductively simple to accept, but John takes the subject a step further by pointing out that anyone who loves “is born of God, and knoweth God.” In essence, the Bible states that no one is able to love unless he knows God. How do we know when a person loves God? They follow His commandments. They seek His face and hear His voice. In doing so, the person receives the favor, or grace of God which leads to salvation. So, that unsaved lady or gentleman who sends flowers and writes lovely poetry cannot truthfully state feelings of love for a child of God if they are not living for Christ. “Be not deceived. Evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). From this we may plainly state our first conclusion – No man can love unless he knows God.

The second premise we should explore is the fact that love, in a sense, is relative. In other words, the love we have for someone else relates directly to the love we have for ourselves, which is dependent on the love we have for God. Any Christian who has walked with God for a reasonable period of time realizes that we are saved by grace. Salvation is not a concept that can be earned or bought into reality. Based on that fact, children of God resume to “dying daily” which is a silent acknowledgment that Christ in us is the only reason for living. Without Him, we are simply a walking pile of sinful dung, worthy of no reward. With that said, it is safe to assume that we are able to love and take pride in ourselves only if there is a stable qualification or rationalism in doing so. In this case, that prerequisite is filled in knowing that we are children of God. Once we have developed a love for God, and therefore a love for ourselves, we are able to love others. Jesus proclaimed that one of the greatest commandments is to “love others as you love yourselves.” Well, it’s obvious that we must first love ourselves in order to love others at the same level or with the same quality. Now we have more than sufficient proof to accept a second concept – One must have love for him or herself before having the ability to effectively love someone else.

Since we have determined the definition of love and the means by which it is accomplished, we must now tackle the qualities of love. Before delving into the issue, we must first acknowledge the most difficult aspect to grasp for most Christians – Love is not earned. It is ordained.

It has been determined that God is the author and finisher of love in and of itself. The only question left to be addressed is His method in demonstrating His being. Romans 5:8 states that “God shows His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While this is a straight-forward scripture, a much deeper meaning lies within. Fundamentally, this passage expresses that God did not love us based on our qualifications or our good deeds. “While we were yet sinners” He loved us and sent His Son. While we were worth nothing, disobedient and dirty, He still loved us beyond belief. 1 John 4:10 states that we didn’t even return His love, yet He continued to express it toward us. In other words, God loved us because we are His creation. He loved us for our ordained purpose rather than our practical purpose. Consider the following situations...

You’re walking down a crowded street and see an old lady pushing a shopping cart full of old blankets and paper bags. You can tell that she is homeless and you say to yourself, “What a shame. I would never let my own mother suffer as she is suffering.” The old lady hears the words you’ve muttered and asks, “Why don’t you just take me home and love my as you love your mother?”

You have a friend whom you have know for a number of years. You have just secured a new job and find yourself living very well above your means. This good friend decides that he or she would like to pursue a college education, but does not have the finances to do so. Willing to help your friend, you call the perspective university and you’re told that only parents may sponsor students at their institution. Well, since you are a Christian and cannot lie to help your friend, he turns and asks, “why don’t you just make me your child? Then everything will work out.”

These scenarios seem strange and unlikely, but they do demonstrate a strong point. No one can direct love haphazardly or manually. It is developed and divinely directed. We love our mothers (natural or adoptive) as mothers because God put them in that place. “He sets the solitary in families.” We run across women everyday who may be prettier, more intelligent or wealthier than our own mothers, but these factors do not cause or allow us to redirect the ‘instinctive’ feelings we have already established. Though time enables us to acquire ‘developmental’ love in some cases, there is a depth that cannot be reached unless God ordains it to be so. True love cannot be earned or bought. Lust, infatuation and flattery are easily influenced, but love in eternal and constant. After all, our God still loves us. This is a mystery all together.

Finally, 1 Corinthians 13 outlines a host of characteristics demonstrated by true love. Love is patient and kind. It’s not jealous or envious. Love is not proud, nor is it rude. It’s forgiving and not easily angered. Love rejoices in truth and despises evil. It protects. It trusts. It perseveres.

How many people have uttered those three magic words, but failed to pray and fast by your side in the time of need? How many have been jealous of your accomplishments and assets? How often were they stubborn about mistakes you’ve made while always wanting your blessing in their own lives? How many times were you asked or forced into making sacrifices to fulfill their happiness? Even more importantly, how many ‘loves’ have experienced such events after you’ve proclaimed your love to them?

In conclusion, the Body of Christ, whether married or single must understand that we have been called to a sanctified life. Our bodies must be presented as a living sacrifice, which means that we belong to God NOW. Therefore, we cannot allow ourselves to be boggled down through relationships with those who are lost. In addition, we must leave ordination up to God. We must show the love of God to all, but only our Father knows where to strategically place the people in our lives. God knows, sanctifies and ordains us before we are formed in our mother’s wombs (Jeremiah 1:5). Callings are placed on our lives and gifts in our Spirit before we are conceived. Surely, he is able to divinely position mates, who ultimately act as lifetime partners in the ministries we are called to serve. After all, ministry is the foremost purpose of marriage. God’s benefit should be our primary concern when choosing a mate rather than our own desires of the flesh. “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16). Perhaps we should all learn a lesson from Adam in respect to this issue. Just do what you know to do and go to sleep. When you wake up from all that praying, fasting and trusting God, there will be someone waiting who was specially ordained, specifically designed, fearfully and wonderfully made just for you!

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