Love first

Ask any new believer, being a “Christian” can seem overwhelming. So many rules, so many expectations … and they’re all different depending on which Christian “camp” you land in.

  • Denominational or non-denominational.
  • Saturday Sabbath rest or Sunday Sabbath rest.
  • Giving, tithing, offering or “sowing seed.”
  • Hymns, praise and worship, or contemporary Christian music?
  • Tattoos or no tattoos, piercings or no piercings.
  • Short hair or long hair… (this applies to both genders).
  • Skirts or pants, sleeves or sleeveless.
  • Drinker or teetotaler, pro-prescriptions or anti-prescriptions.
  • KJV only, NIV, Amplified, or *gasp* the Message? 
  • Speaking in tongues or no speaking in tongues.
  • All dogs go to heaven or no dogs go to heaven.

Seriously, as a new Christian one’s “options” for obedience can seem that convoluted. Add in the current political rhetoric and the confusion escalates.

  • Can I be a Democrat AND be a Christian?
  • Are only Republicans saved? What if the Republican is Mormon, or Catholic, or some other denomination I ordinarily disagree with?

Even if you’ve been saved your whole life, a believer for years, a Christian since you were old enough to “pray the prayer,” situations and circumstances arise in life that demand a response that isn’t outlined in a Christian parenting manual or prayer devotional or Bible study. What do you do THEN?

I believe the answer is simpler than we might think: Love first. 

That’s my “L” for this week. Jesus told us that LOVE is the fulfillment of the Law. To choose love (patience, kindness, humility, innocence, honesty and trust) in our interactions with other humans is more than just Christians “playing nice,” it’s an act of faith and a tangible release of God’s power into the world in which we live. It’s living out the life He (Jesus) gave us through His death, burial, and resurrection.

Faced, as we are, with daily opportunities to react in the flesh or to respond in the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by Christ Jesus, we need to stop and think…

Love first.

Not “law first,” as in “fix what’s wrong with ’em” or “judge them where they stand.”
Not “loser,” which tends to be the first response of our flesh.
Not “leave fast,” which many of us resort to when faced with difficult situations. 
Instead, love first.
What would “love” DO, or SAY, in this situation? By slowing down long enough to ask that question, and formulate our response, we can increase our representation of Christ in the earth.
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