I’m finishing up part four of a Bible study on the book of Romans. Yep, part four, Precept style. We’ve been studying Romans for two years. Two years of richness, of depth, of satiation in God’s word. And this is the second time I’ve studied Romans. It’s been incredible, of course. God’s Word never fails to amaze me. It is powerful. It is convicting. It is encouraging, comforting, and surprising. His word, for me, doesn’t grow stale. It isn’t like other books where once I’ve read them, I’ve no need to read them again.
Digging into Romans for the second time has refreshed my mind and soul. Living by faith is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy. God’s grace is sufficient for this Christian, and for this Christian life, but it is not a magic pill. It is not a pain reliever. It is, however, a peace infuser.
Peace isn’t easy to come by in today’s world. Too much division, too much fear, and too much hurt have stolen from many the peace that could be theirs. We cannot be reminded enough, however, of God’s grace and sufficiency. His peace really does surpass all understanding, and His love transcends circumstances. The book of Romans reminds me that I can live by faith because God’s love reaches beyond what I can see, beyond the hurts I’ve experienced, and beyond the pain I’ve endured.
I want people to know God’s love. I want them to know how much He hurts when they hurt. I want them to know that their sin and my sin nailed Jesus to the cross, where He died so that we might have life, life eternal. Because He loved us. Without Jesus, none of this life makes sense. The book of Romans not only shows us the gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ), but shows us how to live in response to this crazy hurtful and overwhelmingly sinful world.
We are to love like Christ. We are to so identify with Christ that we look, act, and think like Him. But we can not look, act, or think like Jesus until we know Him, until we know God intimately. How well do you know God, friend? If your idea of God is that he’s some big guy in the sky who strikes down lightning on “bad” people or is some sort of magic genie who grants wishes, then I’m guessing you don’t know Him very well.
You can’t know what love is until you know who love is. God is love. God is love, and love?
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.
(1 Cor. 13:4-8)
There are some who believe that every painful thing they’ve experienced in this life is God’s fault. They blame God for the hardships, the suffering, and the bad things that have happened to them. They don’t know God, and they don’t want to. They are believing a lie.
That list above? That’s what love is. I’ve also seen what love isn’t. I know what when someone claims they love you, but keeps you isolated and afraid that that’s not love. I know that when someone uses fear and threatens harm that that’s not love. Love doesn’t destroy. Love only builds. Someone I love is in an abusive relationship with someone who claims to love them. Friends, that’s not love.
I’m asking you today to spread love. I’m asking you to today to step out of your comfort zone and make the call for help. I’m asking you today to share the love of Christ, to love someone where they’re at, to reach out to them with the truth of Jesus Christ. They may reject you. They may tell God to F- off . They may threaten you or harm your loved one. But know this: There is peace. There is hope. There is love for the worst of the worst because Christ died for all.
If you see these characteristics below in someone or in their relationship with someone, then for the love of love, get help. Because #thatsnotlove.
If the person you love or live with does these things, it’s time to get help:
- Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
- Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family, or going to work or school.
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Controls all the money you spend.
- Humiliates you in front of others.
- Destroys your property or things that you care about.
- Threatens to hurt you or the children or pets, or does cause hurt (by hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting).
- Uses or threatens to use a weapon against you.
- Forces you to have sex against your will.
- Blames you for his/her violent outbursts.
True peace and love are found only in Jesus Christ. How much peace do you have, friend? You are loved by a God who gave up His life for you. Will you surrender to Him? #Thisislove (1John4:10)