Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Debt of LOVE

Yesterday I posted some thoughts on Entering the Kingdom, debt, priorities, the rich, the poor and lies. This morning I awoke with similar thoughts, but the Lord took my mind back to a passage of scripture that gave me cause to challenge myself and you one more time.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to LOVE one another, for he who LOVEs his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8 NIV)

My take on this passage of scripture is two fold. 1) If at all possible eliminate debt and 2) If you have debt, let it be a LOVE debt.

I think enough wisdom has been disseminated from the professionals regarding our need to be financially debt free, so there should be no standing question about that wisdom, but far less has been said about a LOVE debt.

Why is it that our culture has bought into the lie that financial debt is good and just part of life, all the while thinking that a debt of LOVE is mundane, foolish and at best saccharine and for the weak? It’s likely because true LOVE is so much like God that humanity as a whole marginalizes the art – the Art of God.

The only debt that any of us should look forward to servicing and keeping open is just that The Debt of LOVE. I mean really, can a person ever have enough LOVE, respect and honor? I don’t think so.

Have you ever really sat and pondered the premises of true LOVE? I don’t mean some faux LOVE that operates in the sensualities of life, but I mean genuine LOVE that goes beyond the pleasures of the giver to the entire Shalom of the receiver? When one begins to consider the entire well being of another person or group of persons… that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to LOVE.

Last Sunday at the conclusion of our weekly service, one of our young ministers had brought the message and I was bringing the benediction. Nathan preached about a coming revolution, a revolution in thought and deed, a revolution that would change the face of the Church as well as the face of our culture; all before the Parousia. I LOVEd what my young friend presented, but as I was about to pray the Lord spoke to my heart and gave me a Word from His lips to my heart. He said, “If you want more… just pour!” (See 1 Kings 17:1-16; 2 Kings 4:1-7 after you finish reading this. Both passages are worth your time and germane to this writing.)

I paused for a moment, seeking to test all things as we’re instructed to do. I was sure He was speaking so I passed along His Word to His people. Amazingly, but not surprisingly the service didn’t end there. There was spontaneous worship and thanksgiving and several other wonderful words of admonition and encouragement were given. After a time of basking in the moment of God’s wisdom and presence, the service ended, but God’s Word DID NOT.

The parallel that we can draw from last weeks Word from heaven and what God woke me for is this. If we will live with an ongoing and outstanding debt of LOVE to everyone we meet and in every circumstance and situation – God the Father WILL provide an unending supply of resource.

Evangelism is far less about 4 Spiritual Laws or a Roman Road or even an EE Outline. As I read it from the Gospels, it looks more like a meal and a friendly glass of wine. As I read it from the Gospels, it looks more like a foot rub and some ointment for the tired feet of a friend. As I read it from the Gospels, it looks more like a confident hug offered to a hurting and broken individual – with zero words exchanged.

My life’s goal is this – LOVE. I know that sounds kinda silly to those who know my ribald humor and my rapier wit (not to mention my loathing of established religion), but I’m not kidding. I firmly believe that we can LOVE people into the Kingdom, but we cannot stop loving them, if and when we find disagreement with their philosophies and values.

Living with a debt of LOVE to a culture that is broken and lost in no way indicates we endorse or agree with said values and conditions, but it does say one thing. While they are yet sinners, we’ve decided to demonstrate LOVE toward them and offer pardon and friendship. For the very act of loving as God LOVEs is true holiness.

And do you know what the Bible says about holiness? Let me quote it for you. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV)

For years I thought this passage was subjective and all about my efforts to act “holier than thou” or to put on some posture so that I could eventually get to heaven and “see the Lord”. But that thinking was faulted, for I am saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, not by works of holiness.

Over the years the Lord has revealed His intentions for this passage. Here it is: As I act lovingly toward others, as He acted, they will eventually see that there truly is a God. They will begin to see the Imago Dei in me and just maybe… just maybe… they might believe that He IS. (Hebrews 11:1,6)

So, to conclude my early morning thoughts on debt and LOVE… do everything in your power to eliminate your financial debt. Discipline and determine to be content and godly in all you do, for therein is found great gain. But never ever pay off the Debt of LOVE. For as we service that debt, others begin to see that there really may be a God who LOVEs them and desires a relationship with them. Not just a god who wants their money and will keep them from hell.

Imagine that. I’ve once again broken my promise of short posting, but hey… you gotta LOVE me right? Plus if you’ve read this far, I must have kept your attention.


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