..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spiritual Examen: Is My Love Sincere?

I plead with you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God,
to present all your faculties to Him as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to Him.
This with you will be an act of reasonable worship ...Let love be without
hypocrisy....(Romans 12:1 & 9a)
We have begun to look at Romans 12 as a guide to measuring
whether our worship is more than just flowery words expressed
toward God or whether our lives are, as Paul writes, full of
"reasonable, spiritual worship" ("λογικην λατρειαν").

He gives us a list by which to measure love in the community of
faith. This concept is in parallel with the book of James' struggle to balance
faith and works. Our spiritual works are a true form of worship.
They prove it is more than lofty praise words or ecstatic feelings,
but this kind of worship brings the kingdom of God to this earth.

First on the the list is the call to love. "Let love be without
"ἀνυπόκριτος"--unfeigned, without hypocrisy, --not
"alpha pretended" -- as the two words that make up this
word anypokritos come from two words "alpha and
hupokrinomai" --a sort of "Number One Faker."  The love
we are called to is genuine, unfeigned, unhypocritical, sincere.
Nothing in it is play acting. I am not pretending to love,
 I am genuinely loving.

Dear ones, we must ask ourselves today, "How much of my
love is pretending and play acting?"  When we say we love
God and man, is agape love, God's love, what is coming
forth? Or is our love some kind of whitewash, something
said to placate another, to deceive them, to pacify or
manipulate them?  These are tough questions but we
must look at our love.

No doubt you can sense when you are not being
loved even when the words are all right. The country
music business makes its bread and butter off of
such ideas. But we are often slow to see that
our love--given and received, is not love at all
according to God's kind of love. His is not an
emotional, convenient love. He does not pretend
to love while secretly despising, even hating us.
His is not love that gives with a hook in it, or
spouts high sounding platitudes to cover up
a cold and careless heart! His love does not
cover His true feelings!

God's love is sincere and unfeigned. He lives
out His love by remaining faithful to us, by
taking care of us even when we do not take
care of ourselves or others; by giving us what
we need and not what we demand.

The first act of worship is love: love full
of the deeds of a good life, love that
comes in tired after a full day of giving
itself for others.

Are we loving, or are we only pretending to
love? God knows, and we know, too, if we
sit with ourselves and allow this point of examen
to shine its light on our hearts.

Better to have a small bit of genuine love, than
to gush forth barrels of  "love" that have no substance.
Only those who dwell much with God have
that genuine, godly love to give. 

Therefore, dwell much with God.


betsy roy said...

yes, dwell MUCH with God!

Crimson Rambler said...

sometimes I think we say "I love..." when we know "I know I ought to want to love..."