La Bella Vie

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 28, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

If you were to conduct a survey of the top values of almost any individual, these three would be among the top: love, happiness, and peace. What most people do not know is that these are the first three signs of God’s Spirit living in a person’s life (Galatians 5:22-23): “Love, joy, peace…”

I know that joy and happiness are different things, but when people say that they want happiness what they really mean is joy. They want a permanent sense of well-being and completion in life, not a fleeting emotional reaction to a sunset. They just don’t know the precise words.

Bob Marley asked, “Is this love, is this love, is this love Is this love that I'm feelin'?” (Watch it here.) Love is a human need. But think about the fact that we even have a capacity to know what love is. Where did it come from, if not from a loving God?

Evolution is unable to explain where love comes from. If all our senses were developed by a survival of the fittest or natural selection, then love only gets in the way. Anyone who watches Survivor on TV can easily see that love is the opposite of the survival of the fittest. Love is self-sacrificing. Evolution demands that you eat anything you can get your jaws around! There is no room for love. In an evolutionary system, love is reduced to species survival strategy. It is reduced when it is only sex and genetic continuation. This is at best a meager view of life, and it isn’t what we mean when we say we want love.

Certainly, some creatures do not know anything about love. They do eat their young. Some humans are like that, too. Just look at how many babies are murdered because they will negatively affect someone. But this is also not what we think about when we think about love.

The love we want for ourselves is different, and that is the love that God wants for everyone. He calls everyone to love others with that kind of love (Matthew 7:12). This love is unheard of in the natural world. In fact, the further humans have walked away from the Garden of Eden, the more we seem to act like animals. God’s love changes us and causes us to live a higher sort of life. It cannot be done without God! “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Without God’s self-sacrificing love, His giving and giving and giving, we collapse into selfish animals – red in tooth and claw.

For you Christians who read this, I hope you realize that our culture in the West is drifting not toward love, but toward exploitation, toward a new form of slavery, toward serfdom, toward totalitarianism. It will be tribe against tribe. I wonder how long this will persist before society starts looking at Christianity as the cultural blessing that it has been, hoping for Christianity to come to the rescue as it has in the past. Ancient Europe prospered exceedingly from its relationship to Jesus Christ and His church. The cultural heritage, societal advances, science, culture, morality, ethics all were refined in light of the person and work of Christ.

Bob Marley’s song resonates with millions of people on this planet who are looking for real love. Marley admitted in his song that “Jah provides the bread.” (Jah is the short form of Yahweh, the name of God; for example, hallelu-jah meaning praise the Lord). He could sense that we can never find love without God’s cooperation in some form. There are many opinions as to what that cooperation consists of, but he recognized that God provides something crucial to love. Without God, we can’t have love.

If you refuse to take Bob Marley’s word for it, perhaps you will listen to the Bible.

Let me ask you this: If God communicated to us just exactly what this cooperative relationship was supposed to be like, would you want to know what it was? Of course you would. That is the message of the Bible and it is all about love. Real love. But God defines that real love by actions and truth. Real love tells the truth and makes sacrifices for others.

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

God is the only one who has ever successfully defined love in a way that works. Christian, you have a deep heritage; live it out.

World, look to God; taste and see that He is good. You are perishing and you refuse the cure. Look to God’s love, it is the hope of the world. It is God’s Son hanging on the cross, bearing your guilt and shame. It is Jesus Christ giving you His righteousness so that you can be right with God again.

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