Love Outside the Box

God has called believers to live a life of community; a life so entwined with each other that when one weeps – we all weep. When one rejoices, we all rejoice.

I have witnessed this kind of love, this kind of family interaction. I have seen believers sign their vehicle registration over to another in need – more than once. I have seen bags of groceries and countless meals dropped off as an act of encouragement. I have heard offers for rides, free babysitting, and round the clock prayer uttered. This is what family looks like. This is the dig-in and get-your-hands-dirty kind of involvement that makes a difference.

Our family has been loved this way over the course of our marriage. We’ve seen God motivate His children to do amazing things for us. I shouldn’t be amazed – yet every time God provides exactly what we need in such a miraculous way it leaves me speechless. And it has happened time and time again.

I’ve been spending a lot of time mulling over this idea of love in action. I’m challenging myself to love practically, sacrificially, and in ways that convince me it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit I can love at all.

The following two quotes by Francis Chan in his book, The Forgotten God, really challenged me in this direction.

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But it’s absolutely vital to grasp that He didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace. His purposes are not random or arbitrary. If you are still alive on this planet, it’s because He has something for you to do. He placed us on this earth for purposes that He orchestrated long before we were born (Eph 2:8-10). Do you believe you exist not for your own pleasure but to help people know the love of Jesus and to come fully alive in Him? If so, that will shape how you live your life in the place where you are.” (p. 92)

“the benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The `entertainment’ model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and ’90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.” (p.15-16)

I most definitely don’t want to settle in and get comfortable. I want to love outside the box. I want to be a self-sacrificing servant in tune with the Holy Spirit. I want to be relational – with my God, my fellow believer, and the world.

The loudest message I can proclaim is quite possibly not spoken – but lived.

Romans 12:9-21 tells us the marks of a true Christian.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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