Blog Archive

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lie of Hell #5:
Loving People is Enough

A recent "Question of the Week" at Bullets & Butterflies listed five of the devil’s lies which sound close enough to the truth to make them believable. This week addresses them in more detail:
Monday – "You'll never be worthy of God's grace or love."
Tuesday – "If you have faith, it doesn't matter if you sin."
Wednesday – "Following Jesus solves your problems."
Thursday – "Problems indicate God's condemnation."
• Friday – "If you love others then you're loving God."

: : : : :

"God wants us to love Him more,
not to love others less."
~ C.S.Lewis

Lie of Hell #5: Loving People is Enough

We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
~ 1 John 4:19-21 (NKJV)

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV)

The devil wants you to believe that if you love others then you're loving God and don't need to love Him first. This message of humanism elevates people above God.

Some people argue that the above passage from John says we must love others first before we love God. (Three posts in April elaborated on learning love and agape love in more depth, and can be found here.)

While our love for God is made more complete in our love for others, and we first learn love by being loved and loving others, we cannot truly love others—love unconditionally with agape love—until we first experience the love of God and love Him.

It may seem that God is too big or distant to be loved and people are easier to love. It may seem that divinity does not need our love as much as humanity does. It may seem much more scary to love Almighty God than to love a simple person.

But if we are honest, people are difficult to love. Humans can be very unpleasant. They either reject or are indifferent or fail to adequately return our love. When we place love of God first, He lives in us more fully and empowers us to love unpleasant humans, even the ones who hurt us. And in passing on His love, we really do love God as described by John.

Such love is Real Love.

Lord God, You are love. Thank You for the forgiveness which enables us to know Your love. Please help us to forgive others and love them as You have loved us.

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  1. Yeah, easy to love the lovely. Loving the unlovely is something I really, really need to do way more. And only if I love God first can I even begin to move in the right direction in that area.
    Thanks for your insights, as usual.

  2. God is love, so we are truly loved by the ultimate love. We are to honor that love by loving all others, not just some.

  3. Loving those who have hurt us, and sometimes continue to hurt us, is the hardest test of all.

    Faith is ALWAYS played out in relationships one way or the other. Accepting Jesus' love for us is the entry point, but mature faith, growing closer to our Father, always includes dying to self (in the context of relationships), becoming living sacrifices (in the context of relationships), and loving people ... most importantly those who hurt us.

  4. Such an important reminder. Being filled up, we can fill.

    I'll be offline next week. Will miss you. These posts were great!
    ~ Wendy

  5. ...chewing and will chew on the other four posts over the next few days. thnks for a great series, Anne!

  6. Wonderful post. In truly loving God, it's an overflow to love people. I love in the Amplified Bible that 1 Cor. 13 gives the description of love most of us know so well but adds in parentheses "God's love in us." My love for people is fine, but His love in me for people is transformational just as it is for us. Thanks Anne.

  7. Dearest Anne,

    Thank you for this post. One of the most profound changes in my life since knowing Christ is that loving Him best and first increased my love for others. I used to think of love in terms of limited resources. Like if I loved Jesus more than my children, that would mean I'd love my children less. Not so. I love them more. Jesus' love is an amazing fountain of Living Waters. It multiplies every good thing...sometimes through difficult challenges, but it multiples nonetheless.

    I hope and pray we can touch more hearts with the love of Christ in these waning days. Time, I fear, runs short.

    God bless you this weekend.

  8. Monica ~ "Loving the unlovely" is the topic of a post I did titled "Learning to be Unloved." The Lord is teaching me this in new ways. I appreciate how difficult the lesson is.

    Natasa ~ I'm always grateful for your confirming word. :D

    Denise ~ Indeed, our love is proven by including the "all."

    Rusty ~ It seems to me that we can avoid being too close to the people who hurt us, to avoid further injury. That is not love, correct? To love is to remain close enough to be injured. And since we are all imperfect and fallible, we eventually and inevitably hurt others and are hurt by them. So then agape love should expect a measure of hurt, I would think, and prove itself by continuing to love. But how much injury is too much? When does agape love rightly shake the dust from one's feet, say "enough" and step backwards? Even the love of God does not go so far that it will not separate from persistent rejection. I believe all truth has balance. Do I ask a fair question?

    Wendy ~ I'll miss you for sure. Have a wonderful break. My love to you!

    Bud ~ Thanks for letting me know how much you take this all in. I really appreciate you.

    Jason ~ I think you make an important point, to be applied to all components of spiritual fruit. We are only channels of what comes from the Lord.

    Gwen ~ Thank you for the reminder of infinite resource in Him. We dare not trust in our own resource of love or any other virtue in such perilous days.


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