Life in the Spirit, Real Church

I Can Only Love You If…

Smiley FaceI’m sorry__________ (fill in anyone you like), but I can only love you under certain conditions. And, if these aren’t just right then I’m afraid you may bear the brunt of my dark side! Not to worry though, as I usually do my best to hide my dark side because it’s quite embarrassing for me when people see it. In fact, I have learnt many ways to cover up and put on a pretty good show. For the most part, I come across as a decent chap and you won’t even know when it’s my dark side.

The Bible (and even society) requires things of me that I really cannot do if conditions aren’t optimal. Things like, “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” And, because I know what I ought to be socially, I will at times practice this outwardly when inwardly it’s not true of me at all. so quickly a hypocrite, A whitewashed tomb AND no different FROM the Pharisees.

It is easy for me to acknowledge and even teach that this kind of unconditional love is the key to a blessed life and being the blessing that we are meant to be. However, I cannot do it unless God steps in and takes over.

Are you like me too? I hope so as this will help you to understand me.

Perhaps a simple self-test will let you know whether you ever have this same problem or not.

Here’s a test that I think works best:

1. Simply list in your mind the people you know or see in your church, family, at the gym, college, your workplace, even in the gutter, etc.

Let me help with some prompts.

  • The sweet receptionist at…
  • The guy who irritates you because…
  • How about the colleague who…
  • What about those ill-disciplined kids at…?
  • Your brother/sister/aunt/uncle/mom/dad/in-laws…

 2. Now, close your eyes and imagine their faces one at a time. And as you do this, ask yourself whether you regard him/her/them more significant than yourself.

How did you do? Did you fail too?

Bottom Line

Let’s face it, whenever we are not regarding each and everyone with their unique background, personality and gifting, whether in the body of Christ or not, MORE highly than ourselves, then we are in the FLESH and SIN.

You might be thinking, “Shucks, that’s a high standard! Only God can be like that!” Exactly, the unconditional love for one another in the body of Christ and for people in the world can only come from God. It’s the fruit of the Spirit.

So, the optimal conditions for showing you love are when I’m continually being filled with Him and am walking in Him. Pray for me and remind me of Who to go to so that I can love you properly, especially, if you don’t see this in me then.

Rob Morley (Similarities to other posts were unintentional and I hope that they confirm truth for you rather than irritate.)

This post was the 19th link in a chain blog, started by Alan Knox, on the topic ‘One Another’. Please look through the other links and comments to join in the topic. You can even join in the chain – read the rules below to participate.

Links in the ‘One Another’ Chain Blog

1. “Chain Blog: One Another” by Alan

2. “Linking One Another” by Swanny

3. “What Does It Mean to Love One Another? by Chuck

4. “The treasure of “One Another” by Jim

5. “This is how the world shall recognise you…” by Kathleen

6. “Accepting one another in love” by Chris

7a. “One Another-ing: A meta-narrative for the church” (Part 1 of 2) by Greg

7b. “One Another-ing: A meta-narrative for the church” (Part 2 of 2) by Greg

8. “Individualism and ‘one another’” by Pieter

9. “All Alone with One Another” by Jeremy

10. “When it’s OK for Christians to compete” by Joshua

11. “Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another” by Peter

12. “Be Superficial with One Another” by Jon

13. “The Unmentionable One Anothers” by Alan

14. “Loving more fully and widely” by Chris

15. “the one another weapon” by Dan

16a. “Corporate One-Anothering” (Pt.1 of 2) by David

16b. “Corporate UN-Anothering” (Pt. 2 of 2) by David

17.“The Last Revival” by Tobie

18.“love: a ‘one another’ comic” by Dan

19. “I Can Only Love You If…” by Rob

Chain Blog Rules

If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment on the most recent post stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).

When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.

Life in the Spirit

The Bible Code for Life – Part 2

(Go here for part 1)

You know those times when your kids press your buttons and you react really badly? Well guess what, your chief problem is not that you reacted badly, but that you are living from the wrong source. If you are a Christian, then you have either moved away from walking with the Spirit of God as your source of life, or you have never learned that He was your resource for all of life. You see, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control and the only alternative is our natural self, which, although can act civilized, needs only the right provocation to show its true colors.

Now, you know all those nice people out there who behave better than most of us Christians do (especially me)? They are doing a pretty good job of living from their natural ability, but trust me, or rather trust God’s word, they have all the sinful characteristics within their nature to behave badly under the right, or should I say “wrong”, conditions.  Worse for them is that they are at a disadvantage, only able to live from their natural selves. Although they can be lovely people, nevertheless, they are in essence just the same as the worst criminal, having themselves rather than God as their resource for right living. It’s kind of like having that pet snake that you feel is safe to have around children, only to come home one day and have to wrestle your child from its clutches.

Christians are not people who don’t sin. The Bible speaks honestly of “sin that so easily entangles us.” This happens because we all too easily reject God as the Living Water and instead choose ourselves as the source in a situation. The cycle of self-effort to accomplish or achieve is followed by our eventual and inevitable defeat. This in turn is followed by despair and our crying out to God, only to rediscover God’s mercy and grace, and that all along His gentleness was at work bringing us to repentance. The cycle will repeat whenever we exchange His strength for our own. It is in repenting of this, our chief sin, and turning toward Jesus as our life (and by his grace staying turned) that we enjoy life.

Nevertheless, we have the resources to live free of sin. Yet, it’s not in being conscious of whether you are sinning or not. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6). It’s in enjoying a healthy relationship with God where His Spirit is our life’s supply and not us. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

Rob Morley

Justice & Government, Morality

God’s Laws, Government’s Laws and Christianity – Part 3 of 3

Part 3 (go here for part 1 and part 2)

Christians should be lovingly frank about the harm people put themselves in when living outside of any of God’s laws. They are all important! And by harm, I don’t mean the punishment that will come their way, but the dangers that a loving God is protecting them from. When necessary, we might need to call sin what it is, but this need never amount to abusive name calling. As I see it, the problem is often in how we address people, rather than in the fact that at times we do.

While Jesus (God in the flesh) honored the laws made for the nation of Israel, and these are a good template for individuals and governments, we see that His approach to sinners is friendship. In fact, God’s laws can be a way of introducing people to His loving character found most completely in Jesus.

Those of us who have come to know the loving God should preach the good news of God’s love for law-breakers. This way, people trapped by their sinful nature can find the love and acceptance from the One who, though they have offended by breaking His laws, loves them. On receiving Jesus, we are acquitted and made righteous through the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. Then, His Spirit in us and the law written on our hearts testifies that His word is true and, by looking to Him, we are enabled to keep it.

Without Jesus in our lives, government, law, moral society and God Himself can often seem like an uphill battle. This is the perception of sinful man. However, with Jesus we see God’s love in it all. Although we should sympathize and empathize with man’s weakness, we should not remove the things he battles against that are designed to bring him to the end of himself and see his need for Christ.

So, in summary, Governments should reflect all of God’s laws so people can happily co-exist. And, for both its purposes to protect people and to lead them to Christ we should not remove any part of God’s law that can be reflected in government law. Also, we should lovingly warn people about the harm that they put themselves in when living outside of any of God’s laws. Above all we should share the good news with people so that they can know forgiveness and discover grace to succeed.

Rob Morley