Our Forgotten Power

When it comes to love, many Christians have a pretty low opinion of it. Sure, it’s great. But there’s so much more they would rather focus on. Things like Justice and Wrath, and Sovereignty and Judgment, for example, are much more important to them than love.

To Christians like this, the Gospel is more about escaping the eternal flames of hell than knowing a God who loves us enough to lay down His life for the world.

I’ve actually had Christians leave our house church fellowship because we spend too much time talking about love. One man left me a long voicemail message about how he was leaving our group because we only wanted to focus on God’s love. He then went on to suggest that God’s love is also about punishing sinners who stray from His law.

This is not an isolated case. Truth be told, many Christians are offended by this continual focus on love. They don’t want to sing about it. They don’t want to meditate on it. They don’t want to believe that God’s love is the most important thing.

To them, love is a squishy, mushy, mamby-pamby syrup that is best taken in small doses.

What’s more, they tend to see love as a sign of weakness and connect it to what they term as an “over-emphasis on emotions.” What they want is to spend more time on doctrines, and to focus on the “Word of God” which, in their terminology, is code for “The Holy Bible”, not what the Bible says it is, which is Jesus.

I started to reflect on this phenomenon recently. I wondered why so many Christians today seem to undervalue the love of God. Why do they see it as being synonymous with weakness and human emotion?

I want to ask them: “Is God weak?”

Of course not. God is the most powerful being in the Universe. I mean, heck, God created the Universe and holds everything in it together. Of course, God is powerful.

Yet, God is love. So, if God is love, then how can love be weak or powerless?

Another question I’d like to ask is: “Why would a Christian trust in any other power?”

Most Christians who guffaw at the power of love tend to favor the power of physical weapons. They trust in guns, or the State, to protect them. They would rather put their faith in the power to inflict death on others than to trust in the power of God’s love.

Understand something: The power of a gun is rooted in the power of fear and death. The power of intimidation is tied to use of force and the threat of violence.

But don’t we know that God’s perfect love casts out fear? Do we really believe that? Maybe not. But if we do believe that love renders fear powerless, then we must admit that all weapons are useless.

Now, those who properly wield the power of love are more powerful than those who brandish weapons of fear and death. However, like anyone else, we need to learn how to use our weapons skillfully in order to be effective.

No one can just buy a machine gun or a high-powered sniper rifle and expect to be an expert marksman without any training. No one can purchase a katana or a compound bow and become proficient with these weapons without years of practice and hours of instruction.

Learning to use the power of love is no exception. If we want to learn how to use the most powerful force in the Universe effectively, it will take an entire lifetime to hone our skills and see results.

This is why we need to spend hours together focused on the love of God.

Remember: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal. 5:6)

God is love. There is nothing stronger.

No power in heaven above or hell below is greater than pure love.

Love disarms us. Love transforms us. Love overcomes hate. Love defies the grave.

Love is wider, higher, longer and deeper than anything we can comprehend.

We cannot ever be separated from this love. Nothing can ever take it from us. It is eternally embedded within every person’s heart who abides in Christ.

All human power is based on fear and death. God’s love is the ultimate power that erases fear and conquers death.

So, like it or not, anyone who chooses the power of death and fear has already lost the war.

Love is the greatest power in the Universe. Love created the Universe. Love sustains the Universe.

Without love we are nothing.

And the greatest thing about love is that love never fails.

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Join me at one of these upcoming events:

Organic Church Conference with Neil Cole, Ross Rohde, Dan Notti and Keith Giles on Saturday, May 12 in Long Beach, CA. Register here>

The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio.

Register here>

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Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

 

 

 

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  • jekylldoc

    I like what you have to say here. I would make two further points.

    First, on the need for training in love’s power, where’s the beef? Where are the people who are actually creating and teaching the tools for reconciliation, finding a calling, discernment of spirits, listening with the heart, and all the other things that people can do to make love more effective? From time to time I hear of programs training lay people in these matters, but usually just one at a time and with nowhere near the zeal that orthodox apologists give to proving others wrong.

    Second, I am no longer so sold on the dualism between violence and non-violence. Non-violence is a kind of ultimate stand, the last bastion when ordinary measures can no longer be used. But I actually think the ordinary measures, whether self-defense or law enforcement or rule of law or democratic and constitutional rule, are great things. Sure, they can’t replace God, but can anyone in this fallen world make a promise that life will flourish better without them?

  • Rather than nonviolence or pacifism I prefer Proactive Love or Preemptive Agape so we’re not waiting for anything reactively. We’re just loving people aggressively 24/7.

  • ravitchn

    Love is said to be the chief characteristic of Christians. Baloney! The chief characteristic of Christians is belief in imaginary persons in an unseen world: that is the definition of insanityi.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    Just out of curiosity, why is there no citing of Scripture that you used bits and pieces of? Do you really think using a phrase here and there makes for accurate teaching on things when it comes to God?

    Why you bring up ppl having guns and looking ot the state (like liberals don’t do similar things’) as though this is relevant to God and His love I don’t understand. Though God will give ppl what they ask for/serve in life. Whether you like it or not that means many ppl will be going to the grave because they DID NOT serve God in their love by exercising faith in God’s greatest act of love ot us that we know as ‘Jesus’. Go give John 3:16-20 a read for starters to see ‘God’s love’. As God’s love does indeed also operate in His Justice and Wrath.

    It would be wise of you to learn truth accurately. I am perfectly confident in telling you if you don’t learn God’s truth accurately and teach this you will also be going to the grave along with those who follows your false teachings.