Monday, February 14, 2011

Broken by Love

In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to say a few things about how love has humiliated me in all the right ways. That is, not my love for others, but specifically, the love that God has for me. Love has changed my life, and I believe that it is, at the end of the day, the only thing that really can.

The law of God is useful, but it is not as powerful as love. The Law of God is the negative side of love; that is, it points us to what God loves by showing us what God hates. When God says, "Thou shalt not steal," It means that God hates thievery. On the flip side, God loves honesty. When God says, "Do not murder," itmeans that He hates jealousy, envy, and strife. On the other hand, it teaches us that God loves life. "Do not covet" teaches us a similar lesson about what God hates, and it teaches us that God loves it when we are contented with what we have.

Herein lies the weakness of the law: it reveals hateful things in me. I confess that "not stealing" is a good law and it is holy. I love that God hates stealing. But what I find in my soul is thievery. Also, I find when God says, "Do not covet," there is a propensity in me to long for those things that aren't mine. I do this when I lust and scheme and get jealous. The law draws up the battle lines between myself and God, and in my flesh, I dig in when I hear it.

If the law of God draws up the battle lines, the love of God crosses the lines waving the flag of truce. God's love says, "You have assaulted the things that are good. You have embraced evil. You have loved wickedness. But come here to my flag of truce. I love you still. Let us have peace. I would have you for my son." And so God appeals to us in love in ways that the law cannot. The law of God says not to covet; the love of God gives me a reason not to.

Here is where I am broken by love: I see that Jesus has come because of love. I see that he was sent because of love. I see that Jesus himself is God's flag of truce. I see that Jesus has given himself, that he has died for my rebellion, and I see in that act the horror of my own sins. The law of God revealed the rebel; the love of God has broken him.

So then, I want to remember on Valentine's Day the love that broke the rebellion. I see that the One who hates murder was willing to be murdered by me so that I might see how terrible murder is. I see that the One who has all riches was willing to be impoverished so that I could see what is valuable. I see that the One who hates sin was willing to be sin so that I might become the righteousness of God. There are no words adequate to describe this love, this grace, that caused my surrender to my God. He won my surrender through His love. He showed me the foulness of my sin through His love. I am so thankful for the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

That is worth pondering on Valentine's Day. I pray that you will.

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