Summary: This message looks at: What is Love and how does Christ expect his followers to display it?
What Jesus said about Love
Last month our focus was “What Jesus Said About Money” and money is something that affects all of us in one way or another. Some of us because we have it and others of us because we don’t. And last week at the end of the series we had Step Up Sunday and we asked folks to make a financial commitment for the upcoming year. And many of you took the challenge and committed to increase your giving over last year, thank you so much.
Now we are going to take a wee bit of a turn, over the next month and a half I’m going to be looking at “What Jesus Said About Our Emotions”. And we are all emotional creatures. Some more so than some but we all have emotions. And sometimes it makes us question one another when others don’t feel like we feel. And so questions are asked like “Do you have to be so emotional?” or the converse “Don’t you have any emotions?” And the answers are “yes” and “no”.
For those who wear their hearts on their sleeves they do have to be so emotional, that’s the way they are wired. And for those who don’t show their emotions all the time, that doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions they just don’t show them.
People who have no emotions are sociopaths, they don’t love, they don’t grieve, they don’t feel joy or sorrow. But that isn’t the way it is supposed to be, we were created as emotional beings. From the very first stories of creation we see Adam and Eve as creatures of emotion. God created man, but then said it was not good for man to be alone. So there was the emotion of loneliness, then God created woman and the man felt joy, and probably other emotions too but we won’t get into that. They ate the forbidden fruit because of envy, they wanted what they didn’t have and what God did, then after they realized they had been deceived by the devil they felt afraid, and when they were confronted over their behaviour they felt guilt and then shame.
And it is emotion that moves us to action, whether good action or bad action is up to us but action nevertheless. It was Carl Jung who said “There can be no transforming of darkness into light, and of apathy into movement, without emotion.”
So from now until the middle of June we are going to be looking at “What Jesus Said About Emotions” Love, anger, joy, fear and self-esteem. Because we can’t ask Jesus to be in control of our lives unless he is also in control of our emotions. We can’t just box that area of our life up and call it out of bounds to God. We can’t tell God “You can have control over all areas of my life except for my emotions.” We can’t declare our emotions “out of bounds” or “off limit” to his Lordship. We can’t justify how we feel about things and how we react to things as simply “The way I was made” or the “Way I was born, I can’t help myself.”
Remember when we commit ourselves to a life of following Jesus that he defined it as “Being born again”, so while we may justify our behaviour as “the way I was born” it doesn’t have to be part of your new birth. And the excuse of “I’ve always been like that” doesn’t cut it in light of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
So, where should we start?
Almost thirty years ago Tina Turner had a hit song with “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” In the case of Christianity love has everything to do with it.
Christianity was birthed in love was shaped by love and continues to be defined by love. But what is love?
If you asked a dozen people what love was you would probably get a dozen different answers. And most of those answers would relate to how someone feels about someone else. It was Woody Allen who said “I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.” And so for most of us love is a feeling, an emotion and it’s hard to control or harness our emotions. And that’s why people can fall in love with someone and then fall out of love with the same person. And so if we don’t have an emotional bond with someone than we don’t feel that we can love them.
We bandy the word love around like it’s just a collection of letters but it is so much more than that. And you will hear people say they love this or they love that. But they can’t really love a reality show the same way they love their mother. They can’t love pizza the way they love God.