Love – what’s that?

Faith that is real is described in James 2:15-20: If you see someone naked and hungry and say, Be warmed and filled, but you don’t clothe or feed them – is that faith? No. Clothe them. Feed them. Demonstrate real faith.

Love that is real can be described, too. Jesus did it very well. He described God’s love by demonstrating compassion.

Jesus had compassion on the crowd, so he appointed the disciples to go out and do the same things he had been doing. (Matthew 9:36-10:1) What had he been doing?

He had compassion on the multitude, so he healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)

He had compassion on two blind men, so he restored their sight. (Matthew 20:34)

He had compassion on the leper, so he cleansed him. (Mark 1:41)

He had compassion on the demon-possessed man in the tombs, so he cast out the demons. (Mark 5:19)

He had compassion on the demon-possessed boy, so he cast out the demon. (Mark 9:22)

He had compassion on the mother of the dead boy, so he raised him from the dead. (Luke 7:13)

Compassion is defined as “Mercy; pity; to suffer or feel what others are feeling.” When Jesus had compassion, he did something about it.

He preached the gospel – that the kingdom of God was at hand (see Matthew 12:28) – then he healed the sick, cast out demons, cleansed the lepers, and raised the dead. He trained the disciples to do the same things and they did.

Love is defined as “To be full of good will and exhibit the same; to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of. Of the benevolence which God, in providing salvation for men, has exhibited by sending his Son to them and giving him up to death.” (Greek agapao, Strong’s Concordance)

This kind of love originates in God himself. We only have it if we have Him living in us. Once we do, then we can obey Him. Jesus said If you love me, keep my commandments (instructions, precepts); keep my words (logos). (John 14:21-23) What commandments? What words?

Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5 and Matthew 28:19-20 are good places to start: get the power to do it, then go make disciples and teach them to do what I do, what I have showed you, trained you and told you to do.

Note: First, get the power to do it. Then, go do it. Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then preach the gospel. Heal the sick. Cast out demons. Cleanse the lepers. Raise the dead.

The first disciples obeyed Jesus. They received the promise of God, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They preached and demonstrated God’s love the way Jesus did it. Thousands were born again and the work of making new disciples began, teaching them to do those same things. (Mark 16:20, Acts 5:12-16)

Disciples demonstrate God’s love by obeying him and demonstrating his compassion to the world. Receive God’s power. Preach the gospel. Heal the sick. Cast out demons. Cleanse the lepers. Raise the dead.

Why are so few who call themselves disciples actually doing it?

Creation

“Eye of God,” photo by NASA

Part of a Sunday night service at church recently was an assignment to write a poem or statement to Father God, to say what was in our hearts in worship to him. Those who were willing were encouraged to share what they had written. The comments and poems were beautiful, heartfelt, and ministered to the rest of us greatly.

Although I didn’t share what I had written, the following is adapted from it.

So much more vast than all of space, Father God, just the edge of your little fingernail could crush our whole universe and disintegrate us into dust. Creator of multitudes of galaxies, you are fully aware each moment of each infinitesimal component as each spins in perfect balance, obeying your design for it.

Yet having set these multitudes into motion, you made yourself small enough, intimate enough, personal enough and individual enough that you can see your own work with our eyes! You experience it, explore it, examine it and enjoy it through our eyes, hearts, minds and souls. And as we discover your works in the vastness of your creation, you lead us to discover You.

You, your person and your personality. Your heart and care for us, who you dreamed of and fashioned on this earth, this tiny planet, the people you have chosen for a habitation. As we discover more of your works in heaven and in earth, help us never fail to discover more of you.