One | Love

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
… But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:  7, 13, 14, 22

Love.

What a topic to begin with!
I’ve been struggling to start for the past few weeks. While I feel as though I’ll never be able to adequately address this, I am also committed to learning about these fruits… And love is the first fruit. So as imperfect as it may be, let’s begin.

When I first began, I thought this ‘love’ was related to romance… But it turns out to be a love of a different kind.

 


On Weddings.
The month of May is one with wedding and marriages of a few of my close friends. As I stand by them and hear the sharing of their pastors, their family members, and among my friends, the topic of witnessing and being witnesses came into focus.  What is the purpose of the witnesses?

Beyond ‘legal implications’ and ‘cultural obligations’ (the first two phrases suggested by some of our friends — Oh, yes. We’re a romantic bunch…), we go back to the traditional role of the two witnesses. They are here to ‘give faith’ that both parties are here to be wed by their own will (not by coercion).

For everyone else below the stage, they, too, are witnesses. They are witnesses to the promises that one man and one woman has made to each other. In a sense, it is their role and duty to be there should either party try to break off from their promises. To remind them of the solemness of their vows and the commitment to this enduring bond and to provide support to sustain their marriage.

So next time you’re a wedding guest, remember that. You’re not just a passive plus-one! You’re now playing an active role, too! Weddings are serious stuff.

 


On Christians – Love and Witnessing.

As Christians, then, what is our way of witnessing?
Love. It has been called the mark of the Christian.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. | Matthew 22:37 , 28
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. | John 13:35

So, it turns out that our way of witnessing is to show love! First, to show love towards God. How do we show that? How do we show the world that we live and walk by God’s standards?

Next, to show love to each other as brothers and sisters in the family of God. This is difficult. A friend told me that it is amazing churches would ever function — We are all imperfect sinners trying to work together to serve God!

There are so many different people – different ages, backgrounds, personalities, statuses — so many different ideas. But what ties us together is stronger than any difference.

It is the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge (Ephesians 3:17-19)!
And from this love, we can begin to carry out God’s work together in unity, to seek God’s direction and His peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Francis Schaeffer, author of ‘The Mark of the Christian,’ a wonderful (and short) book on love among Christians, reminds us not to allow intellect, logic, past hurts, current misunderstandings hinder you from gathering with believers.

But why is it necessary to gather with other Christians regularly? Why do we need to go to church, when we have podcasts with brilliant sermons, articles that answer our questions, and books that sharpen our minds, all at the click of a button?


Why do we go to Church?

Allow me to bring in Gotquestions.org briefly here:

Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honor one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20). It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (Ephesians 4:11–13). A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Corinthians 12:21–26).
— Gotquestions.org [1]

Moreover, the gathering of Christians also comes with another of God’s promises: God’s presence. Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” is also important here.

My friends, our faith is not lived out in solitude. Our belief is not to be kept as a trophy in a case. The reason for our faith is to be shared!

And we show our love by being present! By being there for each other!

We go to church not only to learn from our pastors, but to show that we support him and are eager for him to teach us God’s word.

We are there for our Sunday School teachers for their diligence in seeking God’s guidance and to share that message on how we can live practically with what we’ve learned theoretically.

We’re there to serve the young, to guide them so that we can train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

We’re there for the old, to remind them that even as their own memory begins to fail, they are not forgotten by God – No, even if every one else should forget, God will not, for they are engraved on the palms of [His] hands (Isiah 49:15-16).

By loving (and obeying) God…
And by our love each other, we begin to show the world what the love of God is.

Facta non verba.
This is our witness.

This is how we draw the world.
This is how we change the world.

 

Since you’ve read to the end, I’ll share a more recent photo of my personal life:
IMG_20160507_113632.jpg
Weddings – The less serious side.
[1] Gotquestions.org. Question: “Why is church attendance / going to church important?” http://www.gotquestions.org/church-attendance.html
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