All my life my parents have been very open about the fact that they love me. They tell me often and they back this up with action. Through their love I was able to come to understand the great love that God has for me. I’m so thankful for this.
When I was little, I equated love with getting what I wanted. If I didn’t get what I wanted I would say in a frustrated tone “You don’t love me.” If I was particularly angry I might even say “You hate me!” I didn’t understand that when my parents withheld things from me, they were doing so for my own good.
Here is a classic example. I have always loved ice cream and pretty much anything else ice cream related (banquet ice cream pies come to mind). When I was really young we pretty much only had these treats around birthdays and a few other assorted times throughout the year. I always got frustrated with the small portion sizes that my mother would dish out. Add to that the fact that she made me eat “real food” first and things could get downright irritating at times.
Because I was young and inexperienced, I didn’t realize that a steady diet of ice cream would prevent me from growing up healthy and strong. My parents monitored my intake not because they wanted to be mean but because they wanted me to be the best me I could be. They did this because they loved me.
I think this is a very clear picture of God’s standards. There is an increasingly heated debate going on in our culture regarding moral issues such as abortion and sexual identity. When these issues are brought up many people say we should just love one another. Their definition of love is to say everyone should live the way they want to and no one should judge.
When they bring this up they often point out that God is love. I couldn’t agree more except for the fact that they leave out a crucial element. God is love but we must remember that that love drove Jesus to the cross. Why was the cross necessary? It was because we all fall short of God’s perfect standard. If whatever actions we chose were okay simply because God is love the cross would be unnecessary, but that is not reality.
The reality is that we are all sinners. If you have known me for any length of time you know that I fall short. But there is a difference between struggling with sin and declaring it as acceptable behavior within a society. Here is what God’s word says about the crucial issues we are discussing.
First on the issue of life:
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
God has made it very clear in his word that he has a purpose for each life (born and unborn) and that we should esteem it highly. Technology backs up the truth of the Bible because we now know that a baby’s heartbeat is detectable two weeks after conception and that unborn babies are clearly active, alive, and separate beings from their mothers. If you want to continue to fight for abortion, I can’t stop you, but you can no longer be in denial about the fact that abortion is murder.
Second on the issue of marriage:
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
When God brought Eve to Adam in the garden he was establishing his parameters for marriage. He brought Adam his wife because he was not complete in himself and needed a helper. Through this union the human race was continued as children were born. Again, you have the freedom to disagree with me on this issue but I did not come up with these standards—God did.
So why do we as a culture at large have such an issue with God’s standards? While there may be a variety of factors it really boils down to a simple fact. Because we are created in the image of God Satan hates us. He wants us to believe that God made a mistake and that he is not trustworthy. Jesus put it this way “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Let me just state here that Satan has no new material. Every lie he gives us is a distortion of the truth. For example, babies are a lot of responsibility but responsibility was actually the foundation upon which God built the earth. He told mankind to fill the earth and subdue it. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
Somehow though our culture has come to almost view children as a curse or at the very least scheduled commodities to be pursued at our convenience. This attitude has even begun to infiltrate the church. We need to realize that children are a blessing from the Lord and unlike many of our earthly possessions we can bring them with us to heaven if we train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Sex is a wonderful thing. God gave it as a precious gift for marriage. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:” (Hebrews 13:4) He wanted husbands and wives to be able to enjoy each other and also to bring forth the next generation. Sex without the commitment of marriage leads to children growing up without one or both parents, physical difficulties, regrets, and the search for the next big thing when the results are not as fulfilling as expected. It’s kind of a shame that because of the way the devil has distorted it, it is almost viewed as dirty today. I am thankful for parents who have taken the time to share with me the truth about its value.
Jesus loves us enough to accept us just the way we are but he does not leave us there. If he did, coming to Him would mean nothing. Instead he promises us “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Because of his death, burial, and resurrection we can live brand-new lives empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what is right. If he had just told us “you’re okay” we would be headed to hell because a Holy God cannot look on sin. He loved us enough to point out our problem and was also perfect enough to provide a solution, giving us heaven to look forward to. That’s love, folks.
In closing, please know that I am well aware that some people have done and said things in a very hateful manner in the name of Christ. That is not acceptable and is not representative of the body of Christ as a whole. As Christians our calling is to speak the truth in love. It is my love for people that persuades me to do what I do at Speaking4him. I have come to realize that even speaking the truth in love can cause others to label me a hater but I’m okay with that. They did the same thing to Jesus.
Consider this. If you had a friend whose house was on fire would you tell him or would you simply avoid the subject because it isn’t pleasant? The easy answer is that of course you would tell them. After all, who would want their friend’s house to burn down? The truth doesn’t cease to be the truth simply because we decide that it is not applicable to us. It is the truth no matter what. So what about you? Will you share the truth gently but with boldness? That’s what true love is all about!