Monday, August 23, 2010

P4E.173 Now What? - Part 3

Love, love, love...

In Part 1 of "Now What?" I laid down the premise of a man who considers himself "saved" and has the conventional checklist for Christianity dutifully checked off (I acknowledge that women are reading this blog (and are most welcome), but I repeat that my target audience is men, and especially Christian husbands). In Part 2, I reminded that, as Believers, we must exhibit evidence of salvation in our daily lives and asked the question "What does that evidence look like?" I said we could look to I Corinthians 13 and Matthew 22 for answers.

Once we have established our Belief, Christianity continues to be simple and complex. Simply put, our Belief can be reduced to relationships. A relationship with the Creator, relationships with others and a relationship with yourself (this last relationship is easily overlooked). According to Christ, these relationships are to be characterized by "love." This is complex, and my complaint against the Christian church culture is that it glosses over what "love" looks like on a day-to-day basis.

I am firmly convinced that men (myself included) naturally do not want to hear or live out what "love" is. Why? Because at its root, love is self-sacrificial and we don't want to die. In fact, our nature is self-preservation, not self-sacrifice. But love is not self-seeking. This means that I must die to my own motives, desires, dreams, opinions, talents, goals and objectives and, because I love God, replace mine with His. This means that I must die to my own motives, desires, dreams, opinions, talents, goals and objectives and, because I love others, replace mine with theirs (For those of us who are married, our wife comes first). It's not an easy sell, is it?

The tests (Scripture calls them "trials") of this type of love come in physical circumstances and how I handle them gives me an indication of how much I'm producing evidence of my salvation. By their nature, the trials tempt me to avoid self-denial and towards self-preservation.

So, on a day-to-day basis, I experience physical circumstances that result in temptations to lust, to lie, take advantage of, to compromise, to conceal, to withhold, to dishonor, to envy, to be angry and so many other un-Godly attitudes and behaviors. If I fall to these temptations, I harm my relationship with God, others and myself. These trials cause all sorts of feelings to well up inside me and others around me (husbands, read "wives"). But, if I'm not aware of my spirit, I am caught unprepared and will fall. I say that because relationships are interactions that produce feelings. This is another reason why men do not want to hear about or live out what "love" is. Because it has to do with "feelings." It's another point of conflict I have with current church culture: The instruction to ignore feelings. More to follow...

Peace, Kim

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