I decided this morning that yesterday’s post needs a part two. If you didn’t read it, please do before you read today’s post so this makes sense.
I got some feedback yesterday about the narrow path being the way we have to travel as Christians. Someone asked, if there are no rules then how do I know if I’m being a good Christian? If God narrowed down all the structure of religion to two commandments, then why do I need to go to church to learn the rules?
First of all, the world defines today’s Christians in terrible ways. They get this impression because it’s true about some of them. We’ve all met one or two obnoxious ones in our lives. I’ve been tempted to say, I’m not a Christian at all, I’m a believer in the one true God. Instead, I get lumped in with all the other Christians and some of them believe things about the Bible that are opposite of my beliefs. Sometimes it makes me want to scream! Why? Because God gets such a bad rap among His own children. He’s feared, He’s accused, He’s blamed for every little bad thing that comes along. If someone comes to me touting their Christian virtues, I step back and watch. Almost within minutes the proverbial “horns” grow on their head. They start gossiping or blaming God for the disease, illness, death, broken heart or whatever you want to fill in that blank with. Then….THEN…grrrr…..they quote scripture outside of context and understanding hoping that excuses this terrible behavior.
“Am I really related to this one God?” I’ll ask. Yup! “Then what do I do about them?” Love them.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-40
Yesterday, we talked about the two rules, love God and love your neighbor as yourself versus the narrow path. I just demonstrated to you how the love of God is a higher law than all the ten commandments and all the over 800 Old Testament laws combined. Why? Why would love be the final ruler?
When we make five senses laws, there are always exceptions and loop holes.
When you abide by a spiritual law it applies to everything.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
The word charity here is the Greek word agape. Agape also appears in the above verse in Matthew. This word is not a physical five senses love, or a romantic love (which I’ve seen some Christians romanticized Jesus Christ) it is a deliberate decision of the freewill to obey and abide in God’s love. Agape is a spiritual love. It is what God is. We cannot plop human love down next to God’s infinite divine love and call them the same thing. They are different. God is all powerful, all-knowing and He is Love. He is unfathomable kind, He is boundlessly faithful and He is vastly just. We simply cannot shove our tiny human emotions into that same category with this higher Law of Love. Then He uses everything in His resources to Love us exceeding abundantly above anything we can ask or think. Do you see how Agape/Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is the biggest deal….ever!? You have to ask God, who is Agape, how best to agape/love Him. Then all He asks is for us to love Him with all our little human strength, emotion, and understanding and somehow that’s enough! The hardest thing to teach to believers coming out of a long church history is…God is this good–always. The narrow path teaching has taught them to duck if they stumble because God is going to take a swing. Do you see why I have such a problem with it? Let’s look at this profound section of the Word in 1 John 4. (I’m going to put agape in parenthesis where and when it is used in the Greek)
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love (agape) one another: for love (agape) is of God; and every one that loveth(agape) is born of God, and knoweth (knoweth, is ginōskō= knowing by experiencing) God.
8 He that loveth (agape) not knoweth not God; for God is love (agape).
9 In this was manifested the love (agape) of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love (agape), not that we loved (agapaō) God, but that he loved (agapaō) us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved (agape) us, we ought also to love (agape) one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love (agape) one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love (agape) is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:1-12
This living by love is a far bigger scope than the narrow path. When you get outside of Love, or get out of fellowship with God, it’s because you sinned. Sinning is the Greek word harmatia which means, missing of the mark. What is our mark as believers? To walk in agape. When we miss that mark, we sin. How do we get it restored?
“If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins (hamartia), and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Just own up to it to God. How many times do you wish your kids would just own up to the mistake? As soon as we do this with God, He puts us back together and forgets it all. Wow!
We are the most blessed kids when we realize how easy and simply He made our path. We get to do this next verse.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
God bless you today!