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Love Corrects to Restore

Morning Devotion: Love corrects to restore. 

Whosoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is senseless (brutish),~Proverbs 12:1. 

Love is not about people pleasing, agreeing with what is wrong, forsaking accountability, and being reckless with the hearts/resources/lives of people, etc…love does not enable sin, unrighteousness, or poor behavior. 

Love comes to restore the broken pieces so there is more fruit; we begin to resemble the One we worship. Grace empowers righteousness. His kindness and love lead us to repentance. 

Repentance is a gift from God to lead us into greater fruitfulness. God corrects (provides instruction) and sometimes reproof/rebuke of those who are His children. See Proverbs 3:12. The purpose of His correction is restoration and growth. He is a very good Father. 

I prefer to be corrected than to live in error. Even the people who execute it very poorly, I have been able to take their statements to God, “Is this truth, if so, please help me to walk in Your truth, love, and life.” If God says, “Nope toss this. Here are My thoughts,” I listen to God and His Word. 

Pride says, “I know it all. No one can correct me.” Pride is constantly looking and seeing the error and faults in everyone else. Humility says, “There is always room to grow, learn, and I should listen.” Even if the person is wrong, we can learn from correction. 

What can be learned? 

1. How to hear from God for ourselves. 

God knows the heart. People judge by what they see. They see in part and know in part. Perception can sometimes become a tainted reality. If someone comes to us in the wrong spirit, with a word of correction…we have the chance to take that to God. “God is there any truth in what they said? What is Your truth?” God is the Master Heart Surgeon. He knows what to dig out and how to do it so we are not traumatized. 

2. Humility

Pride wants to lash out, act nasty, be defensive, and prove something. I have been misunderstood oh so many times and called many things that are not my name. I had a lady from a church once call me the B word to my face in front of a table of other believers. Her basis was the gossip and lies she was listening to from a lady who was offended by my lack of reception to her misguided and controlling spirit. I sat there without responding to her insult. That is not my name.

It does not matter what people call you. It’s what you answer to that matters. I did not try to defend myself. I did not engage. I left her in the hands of Jesus. I am not stating I am the most humble person. I ask God to deal with me daily to grow to be like Jesus. I am (we are) works in progress. Only God knows who I truly am. I am saying pride says, “I will show you.” Humility says, “I know who I am and who I am not. God defends me. His opinion of me is what matters most.” 

3. Love 

Okay so we love correction done in love. You leave convicted yet not destroyed. You are happy someone told you there was room to grow. I am so thankful for an old coworker who corrected me one day for complaining about my job. She said, “God wants us to give thanks.” I thanked her for correcting me. 

I had a mentor tell me, “You invest so much in these people are you assessing what they are doing with that investment? Are you wasting time?” She also told me, “Wisdom is knowing proper timing.” Both invited me to grow. So I took those words and asked God to help me. I still pray God helps me to walk in wisdom and love. These ladies showed me love. God love. 

People who go along with whatever we do even if it’s dead wrong do not truly love us. I am not saying we become the sin police. No no no…I am saying love wants what is right in the eyes of God. Love protects. Love is righteous. Love does not enable poor behavior or treatment. Love seeks to correct to restore and produce optimal growth. 

I have lost some friends and connections along the way for saying no to things that hurt me, hurt others, and were wrong. Yet almost every time the person came back later to say thanks. Correction does not always feel good, yet it is a blessing if we allow it to be. 

In a world that says, “Anything goes,” may we be people who say, “What is loving in the eyes of God? What is His standard? What is His truth in love?” May we correct people with the heart to love them, treat them the way we would want to be treated, and see the greatest restoration/growth. It is not about punishment or humiliating people or proving we are right. It’s about loving them into maturity and fruitfulness.

Without love and God’s truth, we are missing the heart of God! 

Papa God I ask You would search our hearts. Anything not like You or of You, please reveal it so we can repent, be cleansed, and be restored. Help us to renounce wrong thinking, perceptions, pride, offense, deception, unforgiveness, a critical spirit, unloving ways. Deepen our reception of Your agape love. Only when we receive can we freely give. Bathe our hearts in Your love, purity, and fire. Reduce us to agape love. Fill us to overflowing with Your truth. Radiate Your glory through us. May the world see Jesus in us. In Jesus mighty name. Amen! 
God bless you today and every day. You are in my thoughts and prayers. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Learning to Love Like God (Part 2)

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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters,~1 John 3:16.

The greatest commandment given to us is to love. The first post covered first receiving love from God, forgiving others, and how we learn to love. Jesus is our role model and example for love. He perfectly represented the Father.

I’ve noticed that love is one of the most misrepresented aspects of God’s character. Love defined by our terms does not equal love from God’s perspective. What does it mean to love your enemies? Does love mean you do everything that’s asked of you? Is love about feelings or choice? Does loving a person mean you need to be their best friend? Does love mean you never speak up if someone or something is wrong?

Loving Your “Enemies”:

First I will say, though people may oppose, harass, torment, or abuse others, the real enemy is not people.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,~Ephesians 6:12.

The first step in loving “enemies” is to recognize people are not the enemy. Jesus prayed for His persecutors, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” You may say, “Some people know exactly what they are doing!” This may be true, but God’s heart is for repentance. We, too, want to see people right with God. There will be a final judgement of people, everyone will not go to heaven. And some who claim Him, will not either (Matthew 7:21).

We love our “enemies” by forgiving, praying, and blessing. It does not profit us as Jesus said in Luke 6:32 to only love and bless those who love and bless us; even sinners do that.

Doing Whatever is Asked of You:

There are many scriptures that talk about being generous. Does this mean if someone walks up to you on the street and asks you to empty your accounts you should just do it? No. If God prompts you to, then yes. God blesses people who are generous, and He loves a cheerful giver.

Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing, not everything people asked of Him. When Lazarus was sick, Jesus stayed where He was until he died. There was a purpose for Jesus remaining where He was. He had a miracle planned.

Addressing extremes:

Do nothing…,

There are people who believe they should not do anything unless they want to. They only give, help, serve, or sacrifice when they want to. This isn’t scriptural. Jesus encourages and asks us to be a blessing.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?~1 John 3:17.

Do everything…,

It’s wonderful to serve. Serving (doing for others) can become our identity. God doesn’t love us for what we do. Our identity is child of God. Even God rested after creating the world. Jesus retreated to be alone with the Father. We can’t be all things to all people. Only God can meet everyone’s needs. When serving replaces caring for our families, health, or time alone with God, it’s taken a wrong place in our lives.

Feeling or Choice:

I truly believe love is both a feeling and choice. We can feel loving or unloving towards someone, yet choose to demonstrate love in our actions. If we base love only on feelings, then love will not be constant. It’s not natural to selflessly love. It doesn’t feel good to our flesh. The Holy Spirit in a believer always wants to love. God is love.

Best Friends with Everyone:

We don’t have the time, energy, emotional capability, or ability to be everyone’s best friend or friend. We can be friendly and kind to everyone. However, offering ourselves up to be friends with everyone leads to burnout and sometimes heartache. Trust me on this one. Jesus had 12 disciples and spent a considerable amount of time with 3. He entrusted His mother Mary to 1, John.

I’ve learned to be friendly to everyone, yet reserve the closest parts of life and heart to a very, select few. Not every person can be your friend, and that doesn’t mean you don’t love them. You give different people different levels of access and intimacy. Love sets boundaries.

Correction:

Love does not go along with what’s wrong. God corrects those He loves. Unconditional love is not the same as unconditional approval. I had someone I was friends with years ago tell me, “I don’t want anyone telling me if I’m doing something wrong.

Proverbs 15:5 says, “a fool despises correction.” It seems harsh. We don’t like to be wrong. The person who refuses any correction is unwise. We grow from feedback. The person unwilling to allow anyone to speak into their life does not understand love.

This does not mean we become the sin police. We are to check ourselves first, then gently correct others.

Lastly, but most importantly, we rely on God. It’s His love and strength that helps us in our weakness.

Father, help us to rely on You to love as You love.

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