1 John 4:19 \”We love because He first loved us\”
This verse represents an attitude that is incredibly common within the Christian community. Sadly, much of it\’s depth has been horribly forgotten. We talk about the love that Jesus has for us as individuals and as Christians, this is true enough, but so frequently we forget that Jesus\’ love was not some intangible manifestation. Jesus\’ love for us was physical, raw, and tortured in his time on earth. he sustained injuries that would have killed a man many times over, he experienced hatred by his own people because he spoke the truth and because he loved those deemed unloveable.
If we, calling ourselves christians care to even attempt to demonstrate the love of Christ words are simply not enough. We must take action, our love of others must be a conscious decision to act. Recently, I have been reading and discussing the book \”visions of vocation\” amongst a group of individuals who have my utmost respect, and within this book there is a contemplation about the relationship between knowing and doing. So so many of us who claim to follow Christ have allowed that relationship to be something that is separated from active behaviour and life. In short, if we are to love as Christ loves, we must attempt to see as Christ sees, we must attempt to hear as Christ hears, we must strive to know as Christ knows. In attempting this there are things that must be lain at the cross: political opinions and preferences, free will, and above all we must lay ourselves at the cross.
To lay our Political opinions and preferences at the cross, is to recognize that God allows different individuals to come into power and this can come about in many different ways. I recognize that a great many Christians in America support Trump, and while I do to some extent, I cannot condone the almost cult like reverence of him, from my eyes Trump has become an idol to many Christian Americans, I saw the same thing in the 2016 election on both sides. Hillary and Trump were glorified and vilified as some sort of idol and devil by both sides of the american political system.
To lay our free will at the cross is to recognize that God\’s authority is over everything and that while he allows us freedom to choose we as Christians should strive to align our choices completely with his will, in this we must allow our free will to die in ourselves and be replaced by the leading and guiding force of the Spirit of God who directs and guides us to where we are called. This is not to say that every action can be justified by saying we were lead by the Spirit to do so, it is meant to say that in every decision we align ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By laying our free will at the cross in this way we begin to live a life that produces the fruits of the spirit.
To lay ourselves at the cross is to recognize that we own nothing of ourselves we are stewards of everything in our lives, our careers, our relationships, our families, our wealth. In this stewardship our striving should be to store treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20), not treasures on earth. In the most fullest sense, to lay ourselves at the cross is to recognize that we are nothing apart from God, our worth comes only from our creation as a child of God, not our accomplishments, not our intelligence, not our success, not other people\’s opinions, not our own opinions.
In Sum: We as Christians are called to love as Christ loved, this is active, sacrificial, and ultimately self giving. to love as Christ loves requires us to pursue Christ likeness in every aspect of life, it requires us to surrender everything we are and have at the cross.