Friday, April 20, 2012

An Attitude Of Love

Our last blog examined how a critical attitude can make us barren and separate us from people and from God. Today, we will look at the attitude that we need to "put on" to replace a critical attitude.

The only attitude big enough to replace a critical attitude is an attitude of love.

Think about most of your struggles in life and how you can connect those struggles to difficult people! Think about how you respond to those difficult irritating people! We respond with being critical, faultfinding, and we develop a negative attitude. 

It is this negative, critical, faultfinding attitude that needs to be replaced with an attitude of love. Now, keep in mind that this effort (putting on-putting off) requires the cooperative work of the Holy Spirit and you. This cooperative effort is found in Paul's letter to the Philippians, where he says,

 "...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2: 12-13).

Most of us only hear the "love chapter" 1 Corinthians 13 at weddings, but this is the heart of God for how we are to love people, let me post this love chapter for you:

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Here is an excerpt from the book "Lord Change My Attitude Before It's To Late, by James MacDonald:

"What we often mean when we say "I love you" is not, "I've made a commitment to place your needs above my own." Instead, we often mean, "I love what you do for me. You make me feel good. What you are doing right now is working for the person that I truly love the most, which is me." What we're really saying is, "I feel something." Aren't we saying, "You're making me feel something that I really enjoy feeling"? 

Christian friend, let me encourage you to go to God in prayer and ask that your heart be changed. We need to allow the truth from the "love chapter" to grip us and transform us. We need to understand love from God's perspective. The one thing that I've learned through my christian journey is that love is not an emotion---no, it is much stronger than emotion---it is active (sacrificial) and defined for us in the scriptures.

Just for clarification on emotion---emotion is a part of love, but it is not the essence of love. 

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