Sunday, December 25, 2016

Love Behaves Properly; God Behaves Properly

The word in the original language can be translated "without proper shape or form." It has been rendered in English as: unseemly, improperly, and rude. It reminds me of someone trying to put a round peg into a square hole.

All societies and cultures have "rules" about what is appropriate behavior in different circumstances. For example, it would not be considered proper to proclaim (loudly) a person's failures, weaknesses, or deficiencies at his funeral. Nor would it be appropriate to climb on a table, and dance, at that same funeral. All sorts of "rules" are developed to give guidance to all sorts of behaviors: greetings, how to address, eating, and passing through another's personal space. Not following these rules is making a statement about one's attitude towards other people, their worth, their capacity, and ranking. Not following the rules says "You're nothing," "I'm better than you," and "I'm more important."

Jesus came, and assumed the form and life of a human being. He did this, so he could be the perfect representative of all human kind, and, as that representative, satisfy God's justice for the rest of the human race.

And in this coming, by and of itself, God proclaims in a loud voice, that people have worth, people have value. He proclaims his love, and that he will do all that is within his power to bring people home.

There is a passage in the Bible that says, if God acted and went so far as to guarantee that God's justice will be satisfied for us (in other words, he has already done the hardest, most painful thing for us) it is a piece of cake for him to do all the lesser things.

God will always act properly towards us. He will always put a square peg in a square hole.

Some people will point out that Jesus did not always treat the Pharisees appropriately. The Pharisees were so certain that there perspective on the truth was correct, they were not willing to consider alternatives. God wants relationship with everyone ... even the Pharisees. So, Jesus went beyond appropriate to shake them into seeing things in a new way. Normally, one does not push a stranger violently out of the way. It is not appropriate. But what if the stranger was about to get run over by a car?

If one of God's children is willing to listen, willing to change, willing to learn, God will always treat them properly. And the choice to give allegiance to Jesus demonstrates that willingness. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Love is Not Proud; God is Not Proud

The word for “proud” or “arrogant” in the original language is derived from a world meaning “puffed up” or “inflated.” Such a person sees himself as bigger than he really is.

He compares himself with those around him, and he is more and he has more. The arrogant always put themselves on top.

Love avoid comparison. Love knows its own failings. And if it does compare, it is ruthlessly honest. Because it sees its own failings, it does not consider itself better.

God is, of course, perfect. He is on top. He could look down on the rest of us. But he does not.

The incarnation demonstrates God’s attitude. God could have chosen to remain aloof. He could have stayed in heaven … looking down. Instead, he waded out into the sea of humanity. He got down on our level. He sat on the floor with the children.

Pride\arrogance separates. Love mixes. Love gets involved. And God got involved enough to actually become a person, and restore our lost relationship, and our lost design. God chose to reclaim his family, after that family turned on him.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Love Does Not Boast; God Does Not Boast

Love does not boast. The picture Scripture attempts to paint is a person, who seek to draw attention to himself by underlining his accomplishments and assets. Perhaps with considerate exaggeration.

Love does not need to be the center of attention. Love focuses outward, toward others.

Boast does speaking about one’s accomplishments equal boasting? Does Michael Phelps boast when he tells someone: “I won multiple Olympic God medals in swimming at the Olympics.” ?

Speaking the truth about accomplishments does not always constitute boasting. Love does not boast, therefore, God does not boast. But he is the Creator, the Redeemer. In him, all things hold together. He is the center.

People are designed to find meaning, worth, value and significance within a love relationship with God.

God is not jealous. But he says to us: “I made you for a relationship with me. You are seeking meaning and significance with all these other things, that will only leave you empty. You will only find heart fulfillment with me alone.”

God is not boastful. But he says: “I am the all-Knowing. I am the All-Powerful. I am the Ever Present. It is in me that you will find meaning and significance. It is in me that you will find rest, and real love.”

Because he is the Creator, the Designer, and the Center of All, there are difference in how he practices love, and how we practice love. Like some people, God can proclaim great and marvelous accomplishments. And he is simply proclaiming facts.

It is the nature of the upside down spiritual kingdom, that if we seek to put ourselves in the center, we pursue selfishness, and avoid love. If God puts himself in the center, he pursues love, making himself available, and is adopting a servant’s mind-set.