Saturday, January 10, 2015

Renew Your Mind

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." 1 Cor 8:1 Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture every thought that cultivates love. Where this is difficult, we ask the Lord to give us his eyes of grace and compassion for another, knowing that God loves all his children, and understanding that it is their sense of hurt and brokenness which gives rise to any broken patterns in their lives.

This is the very reason which Christ entered the world as a human being, that he might redeem all creation, humanity foremost. Knowing the lengths to which God extended himself and the power which raised Christ from the dead, we know also that God is at work redeeming each life. We begin by loving others because we know God infinitely loves them and believes in their potential for restoration, knowing them as they truly are, which is unknown to us, and even to themselves. In time, we too will begin to love them with the Love of God himself, seeing only what God sees.

Our thought patterns are so incredibly vital because these patterns will lead us either toward a knowledge that will puff up, or a love that builds up. The defining factor in Christianity is love. Without love it matters not what religion or belief system we belong to, because we will be no different than we would be without Christianity. Without love we only have beliefs and even 'correct' belief is damaging if it is not animated by love. Without love we will have nothing more than anyone of any other faith, religion, or belief system.

And this is why the Scripture says, "And the Greatest of These is Love." And in another place, If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

The central message of the Cross is not that Jesus died for our sins, or that God's wrath was pacified. These are aspects of the truth, but not the central message of the Cross. The central message of the Cross is that God loves us with an infinite love and demonstrates that love through the most vivid act possible. 

"For God so Loved the World that he gave us his one and only son." 

Now some will want to move immediately to the next verses, as though the most important part has been left out: "...and whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." But the central message is the first part of the verse, without which no one could possibly want to believe. The desire to emphasize the second part of the verse is an attempt to skip to the part that glorifies ourselves and what we've done. Yet the central message of the Cross is not found in what we have done or can do, but in what God has done for us to demonstrate his infinite love toward us. 

The cross is first and foremost God's love revealed for all humanity to behold. Therefore, this is the message: "Love will make us whole". 

And so we are back at where we first began; 
Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture every thought that cultivates love.
              

No comments: