SACRIFICIAL LOVE

"Many of my people love me, but they are not IN love with me.  Ask them if their love is artificial, superficial or sacrificial; for I desire AND require ones love to be sacrificial," saith the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:2 states, "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing."

The word "love" can be expounded upon in many ways.  People have written thousands of books on love.  However, I have meditated on the Lord’s statement to me, and the scriptures can be my only resource.  If it were not for John 3:16, where God told us how much he loved us by GIVING his only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it.

Definitions:

Artificial:  Man made; or fake.  I will use artificial sweeteners as an example here.  They are mere substitutes for the real thing.  They don’t taste good, but people use them anyway and remain unsatisfied.  Note the following scriptures: 

Jeremiah 5:31  "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so:  and what will ye do in the end thereof?"

Revelation 3:15-16 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:  I would thou were cold OR hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth."

Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." 

Superficial:  Lying ON something; not penetrating below the surface; in a relationship for personal gain; presenting only an appearance, without substance.  Note the following scriptures:

Matthew 15:8-9  "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Titus 1:15-16  "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

Sacrificial: Self-denial; surrender of something for the sake of something else.  Note the following scriptures:

Deuteronomy 10:12  "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul."                   

John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

I John 3:16  "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."                                                                                                              

If we are exhorted to lay down our lives for the brethren, how much more should we be compelled to offer God a SACRIFICE of pure, unconditional love from our hearts?  THIS love for him is not based on sentiment; but sacrifice alone!  Can we do this in our own power?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Faith in Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and abiding IN God’s Word, is the only way to live out God’s commandment. 

To be IN love with God, we must passionately seek truth in our hearts.  Holy fear produces that unconditional obedience and love! 

For me, the example Moses set in Exodus, imprints my soul.  Everything God did in Egypt to set his people free was so they could WORSHIP him.  In other words, have intimate fellowship with Him; however, there was a problem. 

When Moses came down Mount Sinai in chapter 20:18, the people were afraid.  They had seen the lightening and the mountain smoking; they heard the thunder and the trumpet noise.  They told Moses to talk with them, not God.  Read what verses 20 and 21 say: 

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye SIN NOT!  And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness, WHERE…GOD…WAS!"  

GLORY!  If we remain in that state of reverent fear of God, it will help us not to sin.  Jude 1:24 states, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…" 

Intimacy with God exposes us for who we really are! (See Hebrews 4:12-13)  In any relationship, be it husband/wife, parent/child, friend/friend; the closer we get to someone, the more exposed we are.  They know our faults and we know their faults.  I challenge you to allow yourself to be CONSCIOUSLY "naked" before God.  In doing so, the enemy has absolutely NOTHING to accuse you of, or torment you with.  YOU WILL BE FREE!  This is good gospel news! 

Moses embraced the opportunity to get closer to God.  The Israelites did not want that kind of relationship.  God’s people today must re-visit the lessons He gave us throughout the scriptures and become SACRIFICIALLY MINDED! 

There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain.  Any sacrifice you make for Jesus’ sake goes into your heavenly bank account.  Matthew 6:20 states, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." 

My prayer is that ALL God’s people stir up the desire within themselves to really KNOW Him; seeking first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else WILL be added unto you.  Allow Jesus Christ to ravish your heart with His love.  In return, you will learn to do the same.

 

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