April 13, 2011

"Let love be genuine."

“Let love be genuine.” –Romans 12:9

The love of our God is genuine.

gen·u·ine: sincerely or honestly felt or experienced—(a deep and genuine love)

Synonyms: honest, real, true, right, natural, simple, sincere, unpretending

The love of our God is unlike any form of love we’ll ever be able to experience through man. In the core of its genuineness, the love of our God is unchanging, unconditional, unwavering, unending, unpretending, unshakable, undefiled, pure, holy, and real.

“When God looks at you He does not see your sin. He has not one condemning thought toward you (Romans 8:1). But that’s not all. You have a new heart.”

—John Eldredge

Even in our yucky, sinful nature God chooses to look past every ounce of our sin and circumstances and sees us as righteous and holy. Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It demands our all. God did just that. Our God gave His absolute all, and all for us. Our God offered His most treasured and most precious possession, His Son—all because He loves us. God didn’t offer up His Son for us to just hang out with at the local coffee shop. Our God offered His Son up for a cause more valuable than we will ever realize—for the sake of our lives, our hearts—our salvation. For our salvation to become valid in Christ, a much greater cost was to be pursued and paid—death. Our God chose to offer His Son up to death—to a brutal and malicious scheme of assault—all because He loves us that much. If this doesn’t show how genuine and real the love of our God is then I don’t know what does.

The past few days God has been speaking over and over to my spirit Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine.” To sit back and think about how genuine the love of our God is and then compare it to how I love—talk about feeling undeserving and unworthy alongside feeling like I’ve cheated those around me in the “love department.” How many times do we really sit back and think about how genuine our love is? Love goes way beyond feelings, emotions and 8 simple letters (I love you). Love is forgiveness at it’s finest. Love is looking past what the world sees and into the heart of the individual. Love is taking the time to actually sit down and carry on a conversation with the person that the world considers to be “unlovable” and “untouchable.”

Genuine love is allowing yourself to be stripped naked and beaten and scorned by man. It’s allowing your flesh to be ripped to shreds to the point that your body becomes unrecognizable due to the shredded flesh and blood gushing forth. It’s allowing man to compress your head with a thorn-enveloped crown. It’s allowing man to impel your hands and feet with nails much larger than normal into a wooden cross. Genuine love is allowing yourself to take upon the sin of every man in its entirety. Genuine love is REAL. Genuine love is DEEP. Think about that for a minute—our God sent His Son to become DEATH—all so that we may receive salvation.

I don’t know about you, but when I sit and think about what true, genuine love is I definitely don’t feel like I measure up or that I’ll ever be able to, all on top of feeling unworthy. Yet in the midst of my feelings of unworthiness and not feeling as though I’ll ever measure up, my God reassures me that I can love genuinely. Jesus genuinely loved through a bloody and gruesome death on a cross, ultimately taking on the entirety of the sin of this world, and in that becoming completely vulnerable before the world and allowing the very core of His heart to be exposed—a genuine love. Although it may seem much greater than we could ever imagine and pretty much impossible, we can in fact love genuinely just as our God did and still does.

Before we can ever learn to genuinely love those around us, we must first learn to genuinely love our God. For us to be able to genuinely love our God we must be able to receive His love without hesitation. How do we get to that point of receiving His love and in return loving Him genuinely? It all begins with us daily dying to our flesh and allowing ourselves to become completely vulnerable before our God. Through death to our flesh we have to get to the point to where we not only can become vulnerable before our God, but also to where we can stand before Him completely naked, without cover, as an open book. In that moment of becoming completely vulnerable and naked before our God we begin to see through the eyes of our King, and no longer gaze upon our sin and circumstances, but instead we gaze upon the face of our God. It’s then that we can receive His love without hesitation and in return love Him genuinely, and through our genuine love for our God we learn how to genuinely love those around us.

As we daily die to our flesh and allow the very core of our heart to be exposed and to become one with our God, our spirits rise up within us, and enter into a union with Christ, unlike no other and allow us to love more genuinely than we ever thought we were capable of. We can’t get to this point overnight, although I wish it were like that. This is a daily process, one in which grows over time and becomes deeper as days pass. As we daily die to our flesh and allow the core of our heart to be exposed, and as our spirits join in union with Christ we slowly begin to learn how to love genuinely just as our God does. Now granted, we will never be perfect or measure up to our God, but we can strive daily to be as close to our God and as in as perfect of a union with Christ as we can be.

I pray that our God would begin even now to stir up a longing and a yearning within you—a desire to genuinely love our God and those all around you. I pray that you would no longer gaze upon sin and circumstances, but instead that you would grab the hand of our God and gaze upon His face. I pray that you would allow yourself to become completely vulnerable and completely naked before our God, all while fully exposing the very core of your heart as your spirit enters into a union with Christ. I pray that you would begin a lifelong journey of not only learning how to genuinely love our God, but a journey of genuinely loving those around you.