Friday, January 15, 2016

The Practice of Powerless Love

Some make the claim that our human empathy for others is the result of our evolution.  In fact, just yesterday someone I know excused evil by making the assertion that we are really nothing more than animals.  Of course I don't believe that.  I believe that mankind was created by God with a proper sense of right and wrong, good and evil and kindness and empathy.  With the Law of God written upon our hearts and His Love as the pattern for our own love, I do not wonder where humanity's basic ability to show compassion comes from.  But in spite of mankind's out workings of this basic compassion, there is a powerlessness about it, an insufficiency that is felt by everyone but understood by few.  It lacks eternal worth. 

I'll be honest, I don't have much hope for our world.  We are on a downward spiral that will not be interrupted by any sudden "evolution" of the hearts of men.  Now it's likely that if you are an Atheist reading this post you are thinking, "How sad.  What a negative perspective".  But if you are a Christian who knows what Jesus said about the end times you are likely nodding your head knowing that He said it would be as it was in the days of Noah.  
In the days of Noah,
" The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5

It's been an interest of mine to search this verse out because I find it intriguing that the thoughts and inclinations of the human hearts were ONLY evil ALL the time.  That means that the love that the mothers and fathers had for their children and vice versa was considered evil.  That means that the love a man had for his wife was also considered evil.  And good works anyone at that time did, such as bringing someone a meal, having a kind encouraging word for someone who was grieving etc. was EVIL.  There were no good intentions, in spite of man's natural and basic motivation to love.  How can this be?  How could their love have been so powerless?  

I hope by the time you are done reading my words you will see that I'm not being cynical but that I am a believer in what Jesus said.  I believe we are getting closer and closer to the last days and one of the most convincing evidences to me is the increasing practice of powerless love, even by those in the Church.  

Powerless love is the poorest reflection of God's love there is.  What makes it powerless is man's tendency to deny God and leave Him out of it's practice.  In the same spirit Paul referred to the "form of godliness" of those who live in the end times.  

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,
"…But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.…"

What makes a man's godliness worthless is the same thing that makes a man's love powerless.  When Christ is denied or left out of the equation our works are nothing more than worthless chaffe that will be burned away.  

Now don't get me wrong.  I am not faulting non-Christian people for their humanitarian efforts.  They are to be commended for at least responding to God's will in it's most basic form.  But the sad reality that I am addressing today is that many of those in the Church, who know God's love and power offer nothing more than the same basic love that the godless have to offer, because they are afraid or too timid to step out in faith and share the Truth of what they know.  Their encouragement to those who grieve or to those who grapple with sin or to those facing difficult challenges in life amounts to nothing more than powerless love simply because they refuse to couple their good works with the Truth of God's word and their confession of Faith.  They refuse to acknowledge God.   Christian artists, authors, missionaries, philanthropists, public figures, many people likely intending to have a positive effect on those around them in reality, are deluding themselves.  Because of their denial or refusal to step out in faith and acknowledge Christ, their efforts are nothing more significant than the basic love the World has to offer, nothing more significant than wood, hay or straw.  And when God's revealing fire burns these powerless offerings of love away, there is nothing to show for all that wasted effort.  No souls saved, because they never combined their knowledge of the Truth with their good works and kind words.  

Love is not meant to be powerless.  It only becomes powerless (and evil) when Christ is denied and replaced with good humanitarian intentions.  The World is the only one resigned to such feeble offerings, not God's children.  Let your love be filled with the power of Christ.  Let your works, your counsel and your benevolence be rooted in Christ's love and say so.  Because it is Jesus that gives everything it's worth. 


Emmarayn Redding said...

Well said. :)

DeAnna Ganz said...

Love these thoughts Amy. Do you have any ideas on how we can practically put this into practice? How do we put Jesus into bringing a meal to our neighbor? How do we put Jesus into our parenting and our relationships? I know this is a heart issue and can not be measured by behavior, but my heart longs to put this truth into action.

Amy redding said...

Hi DeAnna! It would be so nice if there was a formula for getting this right. But there isn't. What we do have is the command, "...and whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father". Practically speaking I think a believers response should be rooted in humility and thankfulness. The fearful believer who refrains from coupling their good works with the the hope of the gospel is not responding in humility but pride. There in lies the difference. People try so hard not to be offensive. Many believe there is a way to love like Jesus without words and without offense. But Jesus loved perfectly and yet he was offensive to many, even to His own disciples. When He told them that he was the bread of life he lost many many followers that day. Simply put, the truth is sometimes offensive. To try to offer Christ's love without offending is to attempt to do what Jesus Himself couldn't do. Scripture tells us to love not with words and tongue but in actions and in truth. There is something of a balance that a believer must attain. This will look differently for each person we minister to, because everyone has a different love language. But, happy day, God speaks every single language of love! Prayer is always a good start. The Holy Spirit in you knows just what to say to those you reach out to in His Name!