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Author: Daniel Gaines

Are You In Love?

Are You In Love?

Sometimes in the rise and fall of romantic relationships, you might observe someone who seems to really love the idea of being married. They like the idea of getting to have a wedding and wear a nice ring. They like the trappings and benefits of marriage. They like the idea of getting a home together, and having children. They might even obsess over the rules of marriage: the husband is supposed to do this and that, while the wife does such and such. They might get the wording of the vows just right. Everything seems perfect about it except… they don’t actually love the other person. They love marriage, but not their spouse.
How well would such a relationship turn out? That marriage would soon feel empty and ritualistic. They would eventually feel trapped and frustrated by the rules that bound them to the spouse they grew to despise, even if they continued to faithfully abide by those rules. There might be bitter disputes over the precise applications of the rules that they two are bound to follow.
We can recognize that such a situation is backwards. If a person loves their spouse, then they will gladly abide by the rules of marriage that bind them together. Love creates obedience; obedience does not create love. Jesus affirms this order in John 14:15 when he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
At times people approach religion in an equally backwards way. They are converted to the church rather than to the Christ. They are fiercely dedicated to the rules of the church (the Bride of Christ), but have little affection for the bridegroom (Jesus). They may have the forms and patterns of Christianity down to perfection, but still have a religion that is as empty and ritualistic as the marriage we described earlier.
Please don’t misunderstand my implication. Rules and obedience DO matter. However, our obedient submission ought to be the result of our love for Jesus, not a substitute for it. After all, without love perfect knowledge and great service would be useless according to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
Are you in love with Jesus? Or just with the idea of being a Christian?

The Golden Rule and Teaching

The Golden Rule and Teaching

We all want our friends to go to heaven. We want them to be sure of the joy of God’s salvation. We want them to live in a way that pleases God. Sometimes we know that they need to make some kind of change in order to realize those goals. Maybe you’re seeing something they have missed. How do we help them change?

The first thing that we should do is put ourselves in their place. If we believed as they do, then how would we want the truth to be presented to us? This is right along with the Golden Rule—Matthew 7:12, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We would likely prefer to be engaged in a kind and respectful way rather than a harsh and demeaning way (Gal. 6:1). We would want the truth presented with compassionate care for our well-being rather than a haughty, condescending tone (Rom 12:16). We would want to be reasoned with rather than sharply rebuked (Acts 17:17; 1 Tim. 5:1-2).

We must never present the truth of Christ without the love of Christ. Our passion must never be devoid of compassion. Remember that sinners are not our enemies, but rather they are precious souls in need of Christ. Satan is the real enemy, but even the archangel Michael “did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ’The Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 9). If even the archangel felt the need to leave railing judgment up to the Lord, even dealing with something as evil as Satan, then perhaps we should be hesitant to offer railing judgement against our fellow man who is not pure evil. Instead, let us reason together with love and respect as we attempt to accurately discern God’s will for our lives.