Sunday, September 14, 2014

The "Sign"

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:16-19

The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately about love - loving God and loving others.  It is not my job, nor does the Lord require me to condemn or convict others.  As Scripture indicates, He didn't send His Son to condemn the world because they are condemned already. 

Lately I have been using a small book titled, "Majestic Is Your Name" by Theresa of Avila for my daily devotional.  I would like to use today's post to share with you a particular reading that ministered to me and brought needed conviction.
The "Sign"
     Love is a great fire, and it will do nothing but give out a very bright light that will attract others to God.
     If any Christian does not have love in his life, he should stop and consider this deficiency very carefully.  Do not think you can go on in your spiritual growth.  No, if we are not growing in love, we should be filled with dread, for something is very wrong.
     If you find that you are without love toward anyone, this is what you must do - for you will not go on with the Lord unless you resolve this matter in your spirit:
     1 -          Go to God in honest prayer.
     2 -          Open yourself to Him in the spirit of humility - which means asking Him to sift your heart and show you where wicked self-exaltation is causing you to lift yourself up and think you are better than your brother.
     3 -          Beg the Lord to keep you from any temptation that causes you to keep falling into the sin of pride.  It is pride that keeps us blind to our own sins, but so loveless that we are always aware of the smallest sins of others.  And so we ask God to correct and judge them, but to spare us!  (Matthew 7:1-5)
Unless you open your soul to God in this way - that is, completely - you will never bear the sign of the one who is a true believer in Jesus Christ.  That sign is love. . . .
    If you want to grow in your love for God, then your attitude of heart must change.  You must be so loathe to offend Him that you stop acting as if you are superior to others.  Then, I tell you, your inner life will become one of peace and tranquility.

I needed to be reminded of this today - that when I complain and put others down, it's really because I think I am better than them - the sin of pride - as pointed out - and a lack of love.

It is so easy to be blinded to our own sins. That sin of pride that dwells deep in the heart of all of us, severely blinds us.  I've heard them called "blind spots" and the only way they are revealed to us is when we go to God and ask Him to show us.  And He does - in gentleness and love.  And if He shows us with gentleness and love, then that's what we need to extend to others - that same gentleness and love.
It really is a genuine lack of love; oh, how short I fall.

Lord, teach me to love the way you do.  Holy Spirit, remind me as I walk throughout my day to love others.  When I am tempted to judge and criticize, remind me that you don't treat me like that and help me not to treat others that way, too.  Keep me from temptation and self-exaltation, especially at times when I'm not even aware of it in my own heart. May my heart increase in my love for you and may that love then overflow to others.

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