Monday, August 11, 2008
judged by the sun's rays
Lately, I've been reading the book of Philippians. Its real short, so I've been reading it everyday for the past 5 days. God's really speaking through it, so I thought I might share a few things that I've never seen before.
What so cool about the bible, is that as time goes on, you get new "lenses" to look through as you read the bible; things that you've never seen before JUMP out of the page. Often times life experiences go a long way to shaping these lenses. Lately, the "lens" of love has been jumping out of the page. I went and saw Heidi Baker speak this past Sunday, and I'm reminded of the simplicity of the gospel: loving God, and from the place of intimacy and friendship with Him, loving others...simply overflowing with His love. Love looks like something. Love has teeth.
Here's some of the background of Paul's letter to the saints in Phillipi:
One of the things Paul was confronting in this letter mindset that you have to work for righteousness. People were believing in Jesus, but still living in the law, meaning they were "doing stuff" to try to get God's acceptance. Paul called these leaders, people who lead others into the law again "dogs" - beware of them.
Paul contrasts these "dogs" with his heart's cry-
"that I might be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that is through faith in Christ." He said they preach the gospel out of strife. He also wrote this letter, because there was division creeping in the church, and he wanted people to be of one mind...the mind of Christ. And with the lens of love, Christ's mind is love...radical, turn-the-world-up-side-down love.
Ok, with that background, here's the verse I was mediating on: this is Paul's prayer for the saints at Phillipi, so its a good prayer:)
"And this I pray: that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the WHICH ARE fruits of righteousness WHICH ARE BY JESUS CHRIST, to the glory and praise of God."
"Abound" - be in excess, superfluous, abundance.
Ok, so here are my thoughts. This isn't THE interpretation of this verse...this is just what hit my heart when was mediating on these verses.
What does it meant to abound in love in knowledge and discernment.? I was thinking about Jesus, and how He knows everything about me. You could say He has full knowledge of me...all my weaknesses, the secrets of my heart. Even with all that knowledge, He loves me!! His love is abundant towards me!!! So when Paul is praying that our love with abound in knowledge and discernment, i think it can mean that even when we see weaknesses in people, people's crap, when they hurt us, when they don't return our love....when we have this "knowledge and discernment of people.......AND WE STILL LOVE!! In fact, our love abounds all the more! Discernment is so important, but If i see pain and weakness and sin in people, and this discernment pushes me away from them, then I'm NOT abounding in love. I'm instead judging.
If I'm to approve the things that are excellent, then the most excellent thing is love. Paul says its the most excellent way. God is love....if this love fills me, then I WILL BE SINCERE - the word sincere means" judged by the sunlight." how cool is that!! - if i am filled with love, i will be filled with sunlight...it will pour into my life, and darkness must flee.
Being filled with love keeps us from holding offense. Offense simply means choosing to withhold love. So abounding in love causes us to radiate with light, and to live un-offended. The fruits of righteousness will overflow in my life if I'm abounding in love. This righteousness comes from Christ. Not by works.
When Jesus walked the earth, people around Him felt totally safe and accepted, and yet the found the power to change: the lady caught in adultery, the women at the well, Zacheous...ect. Love has so much power, because it fully accepts, and yet people find power to change. It never condemns. It empowers. Love says, "there's a kingdom of light...a place of freedom. Come with me. I'll walk with you side-by-side. There's the ocean of mercy that never ends...come with me and I'll show you. I won't leave you alone."
Jesus doesn't walk the earth anymore in the physical. BUT we do. We're the body of Christ. We're His hands and feet. It the most amazing story....in our rebellion, God saves a people, and this people becomes transformed into a new person, a glorious bride that proclaims the love of our bridgegroom. We walk the earth. We are filled with His love. We shout from the rooftops the power of the cross. We proclaim the blood of Christ. Our righteousness isn't of ours....the power of the law is destroyed. this is life. this is what the world is waiting to see. you in?
Posted by Nathan at 12:06 PM