Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How to Love Everybody


Do you have trouble loving anybody? I mean anybody. Do you find yourself being a loving person, but then along comes so-and-so and you sense that love goes out the window.

Well, that’s because there is love, and then there is love.

I’m talking about Natural Love, and Supernatural Love. Natural Love shouldn’t be denigrated or put down. Without Natural Love, mothers wouldn’t take care of babies, brothers wouldn’t protect their sisters, husbands and wives who are not Christians wouldn’t treat each other right, people wouldn’t give to starving natural disaster victims, and so on. Natural Love is a wonderful thing that God has, in general, graced humans with, and for that we should be grateful.

But there are times and places and situations in which Natural Love fails. And there is scriptural indication that Natural Love will decline as history winds down.

And the main drawback of Natural Love is that it is virtually always conditional. It depends on circumstances, personalities, moods, feelings, and all kinds of things that change. And "change" is the key word.

Husbands who adore their new wives end up abandoning them. Why? Something changed. Him…her…circumstances…physical beauty…something changed, and Natural Love went out the window. Or I love people of this race, but not that race, or this nationality or that nationality. Or I find it easy to love beautiful people, but not homely people. Or I love lowly people, but I can’t stand rich people. Or I love my family, but not YOUR family. And on it goes.

If all you have is Natural Love, then it's impossible to love everybody. It’s conditional, and how many conditions we place on our Natural Love will determine how many people we love.
And so there are wars and rumors of wars. There are fights and conflicts. There are Adolph Hitlers and Saddam Husseins who love their grandchildren but massacre other people’s grandchildren.

Supernatural Love is different. Drastically different. Why?

Because Supernatural Love is the fruit of the Spirit.

That means it’s produced in us by God, through His Holy Spirit. And since He gives us a new spirit when we are born again, and joins our spirit to His, we have His love shed abroad in our hearts, in our spirits, too.

Well, there are three implications of that:

1. Supernatural Love is unconditional. It’s literally a miracle. If we are born again, we who once had only Natural Love, now have the capacity to love anybody, of any age, of any color, of any class, of any disposition, friendly or mean, beautiful or ugly, healthy or smelling of putrifying disease, left-wing or right-wing, commie, nazi, friend or enemy, man or woman, saint or sinner.

Now, if I mentioned a group or individual there that causes your hair to stand on end trust me, Supernatural Love can rescue you. Because if there is anybody that you think you can’t love, you need rescuing. But there is great hope. Because…

2. Supernatural Love comes in a package, which is called the fruit of the Spirit. The package includes the following: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. Each one is directly connected to love.
But…

3. Supernatural Love doesn’t come Naturally. That makes sense, doesn’t it? We are made up of body, soul, and spirit. And it's our spirits which have been "born again" or made "new creations". And Christ has come into us and made His Spirit one with ours. And the Flesh is still with us, and sin still indwells our Flesh.

We now may "walk by the Spirit", or "walk by the Flesh". Flesh can only have Natural Love (and it's not even very good at Natural Love, because it's self-oriented).

So...
We need to be filled with the Spirit, and walk by the Spirit, if we are to have Supernatural Love.
And we need to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ in order to walk by the Spirit.

You wanna see what Supernatural Love looks like?

Look at the One Who always walked by the Spirit.

--Jesus, eating with the sinners.
--Jesus, having compassion on the crowd of people who followed Him for bread, knowing full well that those same people would shortly be shouting, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him"
--Jesus, on the cross, saying, "forgive them, for they know not what they do."
--Jesus who, while we were yet sinners, demonstrated His own love toward us (Rom. 5:8)

But just seeing Jesus as an example is not enough. We, too, need to walk by the Spirit.

You can love everybody. You don’t have to pick and choose. You don’t have to settle for Natural Love that comes and goes. Change your mind about that. But it must be Christ in you the hope of glory. It must be Christ, Who is our life, living His life through you.

Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.

Listen to "Grace For Life" Radio Program.

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