Monday, February 28, 2011

The Unchangeables Part 7

Well, we have been in a series called "The Unchangeables," and, although we have only begun to scratch the surface of the unchanging principles in the Bible, this post will be the last in this series. We have already discussed six unchangeables that can help us navigate through and find true security in an ever changing world. Just as a quick review, here are the first six unchangeables:

1. The Lords plans for us are good plans.
2. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy.
3. God is a God of unity.
4. Sin is wrong and it leads to death.
5. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
6. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

In this post we will discuss the seventh unchangeable. Like the first six, I think this one is also very important for us to understand as we live in these uncertain times. The seventh unchangeable is from the first part of I Corinthians 13:8: love never fails. Those amazing words read just about the same in most of the more common versions of the Bible, but the Amplified version sheds some extra light on this important, unchanging principle:

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

In this constantly changing world, there is very little that doesn't fade, become obsolete or have an expiration date. The nicest clothes will eventually fade, the fastest, best equipped computer will become obsolete and even the finest foods will expire. The majestic mountains will erode, concrete will crumble and the strongest steel will rust. There is nothing in our natural realm that is capable of lasting forever. All that is natural will at some point fail. Love, however, is not natural. Its origin is not in this realm- love originated in the very heart and nature of God. Love can never fail. Even with time it will never fade. That will never change. As ideas change, nations rise and fall and technology continues to evolve, love will never become obsolete or any less effective. Love will never end.

As we discuss love, it is important to bear in mind that there are many different forms of love. The Bible talks about several different forms, and these are also obvious in life. There is love that exists between friends, and different from that is a romantic love that a man has for his wife. Nearly everybody loves ice cream and some people even love cats. In John 15:15 Jesus told His disciples that the greatest love is the love that would cause a man to lay down his life for his friends. This self-sacrificial love is the kind of love that God has for us, and it was demonstrated when Jesus laid His life down for us. It is this kind of love that will never fail, and it is the love that the Lord wants to work into us to have toward each other. I can love my wife with a romantic love and even as my best friend, but loving her with a self-sacrificial love is something different, and something greater. This kind of love doesn't come easy, but once it is developed in a person's heart, it will never fail.

This kind of love is slow to anger, quick to show mercy and is patient with the short-comings and weaknesses of others. We can all look at our own lives and see countless examples of the Lord's patience with our weaknesses. I remember a time recently when my daughter, Ava, was sick for about two weeks. She had a fever and noticeably felt crummy. She just wanted to lay around and didn't have much of an appetite. Nicole and I felt horrible for her. Because she felt so badly, she whined quite a bit, forgot most of her manners and did quite a few things we wouldn't normally allow. We quickly realized that we needed to give her extra grace during that time because she was sick. The principle applies in our relationships with one another. All of us have areas in our lives that are unhealthy. We don't always realize this and we may not recognize these areas, but they cause us to do certain things that we should not do.

Many people are not completely healthy emotionally and, as a result, they behave in ways that are not always healthy. Some people are not healthy spiritually or even mentally. We need to keep that fact in proper perspective and bear in mind that those around us may need extra grace at times. I Peter 4:8 tells us:

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins (NLT, emphasis mine).

Rick Joyner has often commented that "love covers, not covers up." Covering those around us does not mean that we condone or excuse their behavior, but it means that we extend mercy and love. This is the love the Lord shows us, and as we mature spiritually, it will be the same love we show one another. This love is self sacrificial, it covers a multitude of sins and it never fails. Love is:

patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance ... Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13:4-7, 13, NLT).

No comments:

Post a Comment