Sunday, June 08, 2014
Do We Really Love? (Part Three)
CHARITY . . . HOPETH ALL THINGS (I CORINTHIANS 13:7)
According to Thayer, the Greek word elpizo (translated hope in the above verse) means, "in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence." This kind of hope encompasses the idea of assured expectation of a future event. True, Biblical love, then, views the most impossible situations with the eyes of faith. It looks upon the seeming hopelessness of surroundings and sees an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God.
Some time ago, I considered what a different place this world would be if we would see advertised
upon the road of life billboards displaying products for a Heavenly Kingdom. One such company I envisioned was Faithwear. Its commercials might go something like this:
“Put on Faithwear’s glasses and change your perspective! You’ll see the world with much clearer vision. Not only will every blade of grass and each twinkling star magnify the Original Designer, but so will your daily tasks be transformed as you encounter a fresh view of God. Look upon your every task and each relationship and perceive our glorious Creator, Who has revealed Himself in each aspect of His creation.
“Mothers, see those children to whom you minister as strong in God’s service. Working women, see those frustrating moments in your daily schedule as opportunities to praise God—to rejoice because God’s mercies are better than life itself. Children, see every rebuke as a correction of love, offered to you from heaven, borne from God’s own throne.
“Our new brand of hearing aids assist you in perceiving with the ears of faith. Mothers, hear not the crying infant nor the complaining child, but the voice of the Master saying, ‘I was in all points tempted as you are, yet without sin.’
“You’ll be amazed at how our products transform the senses. So try some to day! And the fantastic part of all our specialty goods is that they will cost you nothing but a willing mind, a broken spirit, and a contrite heart. Pay no money, but offer yourself as a living sacrifice, willing to enjoy God’s perspective. Faith comes by hearing (hence you must have the right heart attitude), and hearing by the Word of God. So, once you’re outfitted with the right spirit, taste and see that the Lord is good! Investigate His Word, meditate upon it, live it, and you, too, will be transformed by Faithwear!
“Faithwear. Don’t live life without it.”
But instead of Faithwear, the sight perspective, the sensual, crowds upon our lives, drowning out the message of faith, the perspective which truly satisfies. When I see with the eyes of faith, I note not the Peter who doubted Christ nor the disciple who denied him but I see instead the martyr who hung upside down upon a cross, meekly offering his body, refusing to die in the same way as his Lord and Master. Every student of mine I view, not as a discouraged, discontented, or rebellious teen but rather as a vibrant, victorious Christian, slaying the enemy in daily life by the sword of the spirit, which he grasps firmly in hand.
I look past the difficulties of this turbulent world, the sea upon which heaps of discarded, wasted lives have been cast—and see that beautiful potential which Christ has for every life, a pathway of peace, which He desires for each of His own. Facebook searches occasionally yield discouraging realities of the direction individuals have chosen, but instead of being overcome by the unbiblical decisions of people to whom I once ministered, I can view all with the eyes of faith. The hopeful sees that, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” She understands that if Christ’s best earthly friend denied Him, I too have the possibility of doing so and likewise realizes that the flesh is strong, for even Lot himself vexed his righteous soul from day to day, living among the sinners in Sodom. The one whose hope is steadfast in God is satisfied—ultimately, from God Alone—realizing that no sensual feeling can replace the solid relationship of a walk with the Almighty.
When Discouragement rears its misshapen head, when Defeat casts down its deathly gaze, when Despair tears in, tantamount to her temper, the one infused with agape love eats, satisfied, at the table of Wisdom. Christ has furnished His table, mingled His wine, and set abundant provisions for those who recognize their need to dine there! He has built His house and prepared an abundant spread for His hungry guests. His bread and beverages satisfy, contrasting with the fodder of fools, the taste of which leaves only a mouthful of gravel. (Prov. 20:17).
Oh, to seek the Lord at His table each day, to recognize our inadequacy, our inability, our insufficiency! This recognition is part of that hopefulness which is part of love, for the one imbued with such hope realizes she has no strength in herself and thus seeks the Lord, finding Him satisfactory. After dining at His table, she notes that the fruits of folly look less attractive. The delicacies of the devil appear as they are—not delicious, but deceitful. That sinful thought is smitten by recalling a personal feast at His table, and praise daily perfumes her breath as those moments with her dear Savior linger in her memory, for she has dined with Him, her Satisfaction.
Dear Sister, is this your state? Do you revel in God’s meditations? Do you find yourself often encouraged by His Word? Like the psalmist, can you pray, “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou has caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Thy word hath quickened me” (Ps. 119:49-50)? Upon what word is your hope today? This abundance of wisdom is available to you. Feast at the Savior’s table. Let your hungry soul be satisfied. How your heart will live forever when Christ is your daily Bread! Your heart, sound in God’s statutes, will live; you will be unashamed when you stand before Him if this feast is your daily reality (Ps. 119:80)!
And this love, which hopes all things, will emanate from a heart saturated by the One Who is Eternal Love!