Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-8‬

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To Love is a Privilege

Sometimes, when I read a familiar verse or passage in the Bible, I tend to assume that I do know what that verse says, even when in reality, I haven’t understood what it means. Every so often, I skim past a popular verse, and I feel lead to think about what I just read. When I do, the message that was a haze becomes all too clear. Does that happen to you too..? I wonder how many times I’ve read Matthew 22:37-39, until I could truly grasp the meaning behind the verse.

The words of Christ Jesus goes like this,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-39

This verse to me, used to represent the liberalism of the Bible, as my focus was always on the latter part of the verse: ‘the Law and the Prophets, are contained in these’. All I could think when I read this verse, was of how Jesus replaced the old commandments and made things easy for me. “No longer do I need to remember multitudes of restrictions. No more, ‘do this’ or ‘do that.’ What a relief, right..?” But.. what about that little thing called ‘love’..?

I mean, it’s not like I could not read what was plainly before me. I knew that the command was about love, but.. I hadn’t thought of what that actually meant. Love is something that comes from within, right..? An emotion that drives you to deeds that are most beautiful..? The command to love, couldn’t actually be about THAT love, could it..? I mean, how is that even possible..? Could I change how my heart feels toward another..?

All along, the vague understanding I had of this verse, focussed on those most beautiful of deeds, but never too much on the emotion behind them. When you can’t change how you feel, perhaps those deeds might just be enough..? ‘Loving’ actions, you know..? In the end, it is the actions that matter, right..? Like when you absolutely hate a person, yet hold all that hatred within and still manage to be good to them..? Like when you don’t really feel a thing about someone who is poor or in need, yet do charitable deeds because that is what you are commanded to do..? That I can do, and should be enough, I guess. How could it be otherwise..? How can I love, when all I feel toward someone, is hatred..? Or how can I feel compassionate toward someone.. when I don’t..?

But.. could it be otherwise..? Does the Bible have anything more to say about this..? Going by Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians, it does. And it couldn’t be any clearer….

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing..? If I do all the good in the world that I could do, yet my actions aren’t motivated by love, I gain nothing..? Absolutely. I will gain nothing from living such a life, if there is no love in me. But.. I do know the man that I am, and that at most times, there is no love in me. Am I destined to live a life in Christ, with no gain..?

God hasn’t called us into His fold to live life in such hopelessness. In Him, there is always hope. All I needed was to further my understanding of this verse, and God in His grace, was leading me there….

I knew that through the cross, every trespass I had made against the commands of the Old Testament were forgiven, as Jesus had fulfilled every single one of them for me, even unto death. What I failed to see though, was that these two commands were actually contained within the Law of Moses, in the Old Testament. In fact, this verse was Jesus’ response to a Jew who questioned Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? Most of you might know this already, but if you are unaware as I were, do read Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.

The life that Christ Jesus lived, fulfilled not just the outward working of the law, but also the inward requirement, even amidst the excruciating torture He endured. He loved the soldiers when they beat Him and humiliated Him. He loved them when they spat on Him and tore His beard. He loved them when they pierced His head with a crown of thorns and crucified Him. And when He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do,” He wasn’t just expressing His goodness, but He was fulfilling a commandment – a commandment to love – that you and I could never ever fulfil by ourselves.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:21-22‬

And what does He do after fulfilling such an arduous commandment..? The gain – the righteousness that comes from living such a pure and perfect life – He freely gives, to all who believe.

Doesn’t that Robe of Righteousness with which He has covered us, seem all the more brighter when you think about this..? The Lord sees me – a man who cannot even love perfectly those who love me – as a man who loves the whole of mankind; even those from whom he endures unjustified hatred. The words of the Apostle Paul echoes in my head: ‘Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Christ went through all that He did, fulfilling the most demanding of commandments, to win us the Robe of Righteousness. But why..? So that we could live with Him in His Kingdom for eternity..? Absolutely. But also, that He could live with us in our hearts, even today. Through His sacrifice, our Lord tore apart the veil of separation that stood between God and man. Through Christ, God has sanctified for His dwelling, His most favoured temple: You and me….

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

All that I longed for, is now mine to possess, through the power of the Spirit of God, who now dwells in me. For all the emphasis the Bible lays on love, is it any wonder that when the fruit of the Spirit is mentioned, ahead of all else, there is love..?

Lord I thank You, for You have loved me, even for the loveless man that I am. I am grateful that through the righteousness that You have gained for me and through the power of Your Holy Spirit, I am now equipped to love with a love that is pure and true. By Your grace, help me exert this privilege in my life. Help me to bear fruit in You. I ask this in the most precious name, of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians‬ ‭4:8

God.. through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:18-20‬

Keep Walking

When I look back at my life this past week, I am filled with a sense of gratitude to God for His faithfulness.. faithfulness that is unwavering. Being in Christ is no guarantee that we will never go wrong, but that when we do, He in His patience will guide us back to the path of life.

Initially, when I opened this blog, my intention was not to make it to be a kind of online ministry.. but rather to simply share with the world some of my personal learnings in my walk with Jesus.. so that another might benefit from what the Lord has taught me. At some point though, my desire to write became more important than my walk with Him.

There is nothing wrong in desiring to use your skills for the Lord, of course, but unless your actions are rooted in Christ.. in love for Him and His children, it is impossible to bear fruit.. [and I was just about to find that out]. Writing prompts that seemed to come without ceasing suddenly dried up. And when I tried mining for ideas to write, I ended up with posts that I could not complete [still in draft] either for lack of words or simply because I was confronted through scripture that the ideas were partly flawed.

And it was in this frustration – unable to write and wondering why I couldn’t – that I entered my weekly quiet time. As I spent more time with His Word for company, I realised what I had been lacking. Through the week, the anxieties caused by the storms in life kept me seeking the Lord for comfort.. but kept me from seeking Him. When I finally did, I was able to see why I couldn’t write.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

The reason I write should be Christ. Nothing else. Not to make this a successful blog.. to rake up views/visitors.. or to satisfy my pride. The closer I am to God, the prompts would come as and when they’re necessary. And when I receive a prompt from Him, He will be with me and enable me to write. Trust and obey. Simple, eh..? Grateful to Him for being patient with me amidst my ignorantly prideful attempts. Truly, apart from Him I can do nothing….

It’s easy to forget sometimes
And become legends in our minds
But we’re just tools within His hands
Used to carry out His plans.

Ken Lawrence [Just The Brush]


Hear Me, Please

“Is the God of the Bible really a loving person..? Christians keep parroting the words ‘Jesus Loves You’, yet all I see when I look into their message is a pistol pointing right between my eyes saying, ‘Believe in Jesus or Die’. How is that love..?”

That is a question I am pleased to hear as it means one thing – the one posing the question has considered the message of the Bible. At the same time, there is a sense of failure when I realise how lousy us Christians are – me included – at sharing the Good News.

In this post, I’ll explain why as a Christian I feel this falls short of the truth. In the end I know that it’ll all come down to faith – believing if the Bible is true or not is a matter of one’s own choice. But my purpose for writing this is to explain what the Bible has to say as an answer to this question – which I believe it does with absolute clarity.

Firstly, what is my stand on that statement mentioned above. According to the Word of God is it true that ‘unless you believe in Jesus you will die’..? Frankly, yes. Plain speak – the way Christians are commanded to share the Truth in 2 Corinthians 4:2. But still, I do not agree with the quoted text above. And I hope you’ll bear with me a little as I tell you why.

I’ll start off with a little story….

There once broke out in a city a fever that affected all – both young and old, rich and poor, the strong and the weak, men and women. At least one person was affected in each household. Leading doctors in the city concurred that the fever was caused by a virus known to exist elsewhere in the world. They began to administer medication as per their diagnosis. All was going well – or so they thought.

In the same city lived an old man – a scientist. Through his own private research he noted that the virus was not the same as the doctors had observed it to be. This in fact was a previously unknown, lethal cousin. Having understood the nature of the virus, the scientist developed a cure in quick time – spending a fortune. He took the cure to the leading hospitals in the city, but to his astonishment he faced rejection everywhere.

Disturbed at the thought of the fate of the people, he decided to reach them directly. With the little money he had left, he set out to spread the message of the nature of the disease and how it wasn’t as benign as the people thought it to be. He spoke about how his cure tackled the disease and offered the life saving medicine for free. He stood on the streets and cried, “Hear me, please. Unless you believe me you will die”.

The people he so loved, shunned him. He was mocked and humiliated – despised of all. In the end only a handful of people gave ear to him – people who had hit the depths of poverty that they could not afford the medication sold at the hospitals. To all who came to him, the scientist with a glad heart gave the medicine for free. And the poor lived.

I guess you see where I am getting. ‘Unless you believe me you will die’, the line used by the scientist in the story is similar to the condensed message the Bible shares with us today. As much as people must have hurt the scientist by rejecting his message, they did not die because of him but because of the disease that spread. So too, people will not die a spiritual death because Jesus has judged them for rejecting Him. Jesus Himself says in John 12:47 – “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” Spiritual death however will come because of the disease of sin.

But is there really such a disease..? Can I prove to you that humanity is dying in sin..? Perhaps not. But the fact that I want to state is that that is what is said in the Bible. In Romans 3:23 the Bible says that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Then we head on to see in Romans 6:23 that the ‘wages of sin is death’. 

And where in the Bible do we find the cure to our deadly illness..? The Scripture from beginning to end – from the prophecy in Eden’s Garden to the apocalyptic vision of John in the Book of Revelation where he looks upon the slain Lamb standing in the center of the throne – points us to that. Jesus Himself testifies to that at the Last Supper. In Matthew 26:28, the Lord says that His blood is ‘poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’. His contemporary John the Baptist in John 1:29 proclaimed, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’. The clincher though comes from a text far ahead of the time in which John lived. In the Book of Isaiah Chapter 53, Isaiah prophecied in the 7th century BC of all that Jesus would have to go through in the years of the 1st century AD. In verse 5 he says, ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed’.

Before I conclude, let’s shift our gaze for a moment back to a verse I mentioned earlier, having touched upon the first part – Romans 6:23. The verse that begins as ‘For the wages of sin is death’ – which is the core of the Biblical message – continues, ‘but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Like the good scientist in our little story, our good God – having done all that is required to win it – is calling out to offer eternal life as a gift to anyone who would come to Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

The message of the Bible – Not a threat with a pointed gun. But rather, an invition dressed with love to receive a gift beyond price.

Children of God

One thing I love about the Bible is how it’s message flows as an indifferent current, opposed to most worldly teachings. Among all the verses, one particular verse stands out making the contrast all too clear. That particular verse is a part of a set of strange teachings – strange if you’re not familiar with the person that is Jesus – called The Beatitudes, which is part of the Lord’s famous Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

The imposing. The intimidating. The mighty. The ruthless. If anyone were to believe a people will inherit the whole Earth, these are the kind of qualities you would add to them in your imagination. Surely not meekness..? Yet that is what God – who Himself became the very personification of that word in Jesus Christ – says of the meek.

I feel for all the people, who when they were younger – when they used to live carefree like a child – had a heart so meek, yet at some point in their lives as the days added on, they chose to let those selves behind. You see, being meek is never an easy option. People use you, as you freely give yourself up for their good. People vent their ugly emotions on you, as they’ll know you’re the last person from whom they’ll get it back. People will cheat you and think it’s okay, as you rarely complain. And you know what’s worse..? After all this, they’ll just think you’re so because you’re weak. They’ll consider you incompetent to make your way through this unjust world.

That’s when the choice comes in. Do you continue being the way you are – being YOU..? Or do you show them what you can be if you want to..? You might have wrestled this thought quite a few times, and at some point you break. You become what you want to, leaving yourself behind. Another beautiful soul taken down by the world.

If only they had heard that Sermon on the Mount. If only they had known that there is a God above in who’s eyes they – who are rejected by the world – are more precious than any of those who are celebrated in it. If only they had known that so great a reward awaits them, if only they endure.

I wish we’d all let go of our pride, our ego and all vanity and embrace meekness, even those of us – like me – who have never truly been so before. But if you were once like that – living like a child – I pray that you will give that child another chance. Jesus said in

Matthew 18:3,

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Embrace meekness. Embrace the child in you.

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