"Without qualification, without ifs, ands, or buts, God's word tells us, straight as a left jab, that love is the greatest thing there is (1 Cor 13: 13). Scripture never says God is justice or beauty or righteousness, though he is just and beautiful and righteous. But "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8). Love is God's essence, his whole being. Everything in him is love. Even his justice is love. Paul identifies "the justice of God" in Romans 1:17 with the most unjust event in all history, deicide, the crucifixion, for that was God's great act of love." --- Peter Kreeft , taken from this article
That dude, Kreeft, is one of the most powerful writers and thinkers of this day. What he says here and in other places has influences me for about 12 years. In the past few months, I have been preparing for 2009 at The Community and how we will walk in the vision and calling God has given us.
Our call is to demonstrate the love of God to our community and 2009 will be the year of love more ... expect less. That is a big deal as we begin to love others like Jesus loves them. We can fill the gaps of what love is and what it acts like, yet our prayers and our actions honestly have to be an extension of God's love or God loving through us. That's my prayer and my heart for The Community!
Notice what love is from what Kreeft wrote: (1) greatest of all things, (2) God is love, (3) Jesus' love is greatest act of love.
Think about it. What is the greatest act of love we can make or do or have? How has the love of God taken over us?
Romans 5:8 (nlt) --- But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Luke 10:27 (nlt) --- The man answered, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
1 John 4:20 (nlt) --- If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't lovepeople we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
1 John 3:18 (nlt) --- Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
What I really want to pass on to you, again, is the desire to do ARK's (acts of random kindness) and find other ways to display and give away the love of God. God has changed us like no one else could. Never the same. We will never be the same. When we begin to love like Jesus loves, we expect nothing in return. When we begin to love like Jesus loves, we will love more and more and more.
So, what does it mean to love? From my 8th grade Bible class back at the Christian school I attended in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I remember a simple definition that has stuck with me for over 2 decades. To love as God's is to "love something with no thought of getting anything back, no return."
That is vision .... to love like Jesus loves!
Peter Kreeft ended this article with this: If I am nothing, nothing that is mine is anything. Nothing is mine by nature. But one thing is mine by my free choice: the self I give away in love. That is the thing even God cannot do for me. It is my choice. Everything I say is mine is not. But everything I say is yours is mine. C. S. Lewis, asked which of his many library books he thought he would have in heaven, replied, "Only the ones I gave away on earth and never got back". The same is true of our very self. It is like a ball in a game of catch: throw it and it will come back to you; hold onto it and that ends the game.