first things first

A blog about whatever crosses my mind, ordered by importance.

what is love?

What is love? Is it just not hurting me, as the song goes?

The scripture has a different definition of love.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.
John 15:12-17

Jesus laid down His life for His friends, but we see that not everyone is His friend. He immediately qualifies it. Does that mean He only loves His friends? Certainly not.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
Matthew 5:43-44

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

So God even loves His enemies. But He also calls them to follow His commands. This is the difference between the love of God and the love that the world likes to show. The world says God loves everybody, and everybody goes to heaven, especially me because I’m a good person.

You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Malachi 2:17

The world says love is accepting me for who I am, and not offending me. Let me do what I want to do, and be who I want to be, and don’t you dare force your opinions on me.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6

I desire a higher kind of love. A love that loves me enough to tell me when I’m headed to destruction. A love that will do everything possible to restrain me from ruining my life & my eternity. That kind of love is extremely rare.

I’ve recently decided to go on a one-year stint to Albania with CRU. I’ll be leaving sometime in September 2015. The reasons for doing this are many, but the primary one is that I am ready to bet my whole life on the truth of the resurrection. I plan to take Pascal’s wager, and offer my life as collateral. The funny thing is, when I explain this to my atheist or agnostic friends, I get a pat on the back. “Good for you,” they say.

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:16-19

No. It’s not good for me. If Jesus Christ didn’t truly rise from the dead this is the worst decision I could make. I’m giving up a lucrative job, a comfortable house, the American dream to follow a charlatan and a bunch of gullible idiots. If I take this to the extreme, I could die young in a foreign land without ever having had a family. And for what? If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then it’s for nothing.

But it’s not really for nothing. Because Jesus Christ did rise from the dead. And that makes all the difference.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58