Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Love Tells A Better Story

No matter what people say or how it looks Karma isn't happening in the world. There is no cosmic balancing force. There is a personal God who Is righteous and just.

"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering - since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." - 2 Thessalonians 1:1-8 ESV

It is wonderful to see a person grow in faith in the midst of their circumstances. Their growth may start out with a foxhole kind of cry where people in danger look to God and ask for help who might never otherwise look to God but then you see the spark of faith turn into a blaze of faith when grace is revealed.

God is going to balance the scales in surprising ways. I think people see things happen and call it Karma but they are mistaken.

"Righteous are you, O LORD, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit; you are near in their mouth and far from their heart." - Jeremiah 12:1-2 ESV

The rich get richer and the powerful gobble up more power but there is also a faith and love dynamic in the world. When people mix faith with the truth about God's character and nature they grow and start loving one another.

People often put the cart before the horse and say, 'We should love one another.' but that isn't how it works. The scripture reveals a different hidden dynamic.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:1-5 ESV

The King James version says this love is 'shed abroad' in our hearts in verse five. I like that phrase.

This love isn't natural. It isn't the compassion we feel when a commercial flashes on the television screen asking us to give money to feed malnourished children. No. This is love that grows even as it is felt. It is God's love that is connected to 'the grace in which we stand.'

Ever try to love people? I have. It doesn't work for very long. Even if I could do it for a lifetime it wouldn't be long enough.

Revenge doesn't work either. It isn't the justice God has in mind.

"...let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:22-23 ESV

Yes. That phrase 'full assurance' is the Greek word Plerophoria (Strong's G4136). Only grace can grow faith like this because it relies on God's gracious character. The one who sent His Son (who He loves with matchless love) to die also was faithful to raise Him from the dead with glory.

Whatever our suffering is... one day it will turn into a good story. God will raise us in glory.

If there are 'bad guys' involved they will get what is coming to them. Even better they may just believe also and get mercy like we did. Wouldn't that make for a better story anyway?


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