Lately, I’ve been feeling really troubled.
Every time I turn on the news or look at social media, there’s news of a new tragedy, a new trauma, and a new layer of human suffering happening somewhere in the world. I know that this isn’t a new thing, but I’ve been feeling particularly wearied by the horrors experienced by people lately.
What’s the Solution?
My prayer time recently has turned to many of these significant events that have dominated the news. I’ve been asking God for strategic solutions for some of the biggest problems facing our world today. As I’ve been looking to Him for answers, He keeps pointing me back to a few things: the church, discipleship, and love.
Really, God? Surely there’s got to be more than that!There's got to be more… right? Click To Tweet
I want there to be some really innovative and exciting solution to the problems the world is facing. I desire to see in-depth schematics of solutions that the Lord has. I long to see detailed instructions for how to fix all the wrongs I see. I want the answer to be complex and mysterious.
But He keeps pointing me back to the church, our shallow discipleship, and our weak love. Which is not a fun answer. If love is the solution to the problems in this world, then I am required to change, which I’m, personally, not a big fan of.
Love and Christ
This morning, God took me to 1 Corinthians 13, which made me laugh. As a person who isn’t a big fan of weddings or anything romantic, I often forget about the chapter that has become known as the “Love Chapter.” Here’s what it says:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
First, God reminded me that we can substitute the word “love” for “Jesus” in this passage. Because God is love, these characteristics of love are also true about Him.
Jesus is patient and kind; He doesn’t envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on His own way; Jesus is not irritable or resentful; He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
That’s remarkable! What an amazing God we serve!
But God wasn’t done taking me through this particular passage. He asked me a question that pierced my heart and dropped me to my knees.
“Is the same true for you?”
The truth is that I am often impatient and unkind. I do envy and boast. I can be arrogant and rude. And I often insist upon my own way. I can be irritable and resentful. Sadly, I can rejoice in wrongdoing instead of always rejoicing with the truth. I don’t bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, or endure all things.
My brand of “love” falls far short of the immense love of God.
Of course, I am human and imperfect (as are you), so I will never love perfectly. Thankfully, God isn’t calling us to be perfect because Jesus already fulfilled that requirement. Instead, He’s drawing us to Himself—into His perfect and incomparable love—that we might become more like Him.
Love is the Answer
Imagine with me for a moment what the world might look like if the church displayed a love like Jesus. If the people of God went first in giving, saying sorry, and forgiving. If the body of Christ was more concerned with serving instead of receiving. If our love wasn’t self-motivated but God-motivated. What could the world look like? And what type of world might be left for the next generation?
Truthfully, I don’t want love to be the answer to the world’s problems, but it is. It sounds simplistic, cliched, and like a cop-out. But that’s not at all what God’s love is like.
For years, I’ve seen the actions of the early church in the book of Acts as a result of the Holy Spirit, unity, and devotion. And while all of those are present, I had forgotten about love. These men and women of the early church had experienced the love of God and were just re-presenting Him to the world around them. They were focused on loving God and loving others in everything they did—and their love changed the world.
Love God & Love Others
Because love is the answer, that means that we can all change the world around us. By loving God and others well, we can make a difference. We don’t have to be in powerful positions or have lots of fancy degrees—loving well can make an everlasting impact. It’s that simple and that complex.
God’s immense love changed our eternity.
The response of the early church changed human history.
How might a Holy Spirit-led, Jesus-focused, loving people of God change our world today? I’m not sure, but I would like to find out.