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Summary: The final 10 weeks cover Christian virtues, most from the Fruit of the Spirit. Today is Love.

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Believe 21: Love

April 12, 2015

1 John 4:7-21

In her famous song, Tina Turner said “love is nothing more than a second hand emotion.” Of course, the Beatles told us, “all you need is love.” While Elvis said, “love me tender.” Of course, the best love song of all time is by Elvis, “Can’t help falling in love.” That was my first dance with Debbie!

We are now in week 21 of Believe. WOW! We’ve entered the home stretch. If you remember, the series is based on thinking like Jesus, acting like Jesus, which leads us to be more like Jesus. In these final 10 weeks, we will be looking at the Fruit of the Spirit. So, let’s get moving . .

George Wald was a scientist who was intrigued with how the eye works. He is most remembered for is studies on how vitamin A impacts our vision. His research was so important and highly thought of, he shared in winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1967.

He accomplished a great deal in his life. But when speaking of his Nobel Prize, he made this statement:

“What one really needs is not the Nobel prize, but love. How do you think one gets to be a Nobel Prize winner? Wanting love, that’s how. Wanting it so bad one works all the time. He works and works and ends up as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s a consolation prize. What matters is love.”

That’s a powerful statement by Wald. Now, of course, not every Nobel prize winner had the same view as Walk. Donald Miller recently wrote a book called Scary Close. In the book, he wrote, “What if some of the most successful people in the world got that way because their success was fueled by a misappropriated need for love?”

That’s what I think George Wald was saying. What we want is love. We just don’t know how to find it. But sadly, for so many people the message they’ve received, especially the message they’ve experienced is that love is conditional.

We think we will find love through our performance, or personality or our looks. We learn over time, that’s not the way it works.

So we work long hours. We work the room. We work out. We work in hopes of finding love. Why? Because this is what we have learned. Human love is conditional. Our first thoughts when something goes wrong, or when we have a disagreement is that the one who loves us is going to walk out on us.

There was a guy who whispered to his girl friend, “I love you.” She couldn’t accept the wonderful words, so she leaned in close and asked, “Why?” Being caught off guard, the guy stammered and stuttered and the moment was lost. We want to be loved unconditionally, yet at the same time, we want to know why someone would love us.

Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult for us to accept the heart of God’s message ~ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

God loves us. Is that so difficult to accept? For so many of us, yes it is. We struggle because we claim we aren’t worthy to be loved. We don’t deserve God’s love, we aren’t good enough, we’ve too many bad things, we’ve hurt people, we’ve sinned . . . over and over and over again.

We believe we are the scum of the earth. Nobody should love us. We are to be pitied, thrown away, thrown into the big trash heap outside of Jerusalem, the place called Gehenna. Yet, God sent Jesus into this world not for His sake, but for our sake. He left the place of perfection to live and suffer and die, not for His sake, but for yours and mine. Then He shattered the hold death has on us, and gives us eternal life. In fact, He gives us this life right here and right now, in this world.

But we have to believe Jesus is who He says He is . . . AND we need to believe that God really, really, really loves us!

Each day as we live our lives, Jesus loves us unconditionally and sacrificially, and He offers continual and ongoing forgiveness. Part of what makes this so difficult is the fact that Jesus then asks us, His followers, to do the same . . . to offer the same unconditional and sacrificial love and forgiveness in all of our relationships.

That’s not always easy. But that’s the call of Jesus. This often separates the true followers from the phonies and wanna-bees. We are called to love, because God loved us and in fact commands us to go into the world and love others.

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