Monday, August 17, 2009

As Christ So Loved the Church


Last week I listened to several programs from Focus on the Family in which Fred Stoeker talked about his struggle with pornography and how he was able to overcome the addiction by God’s grace.

Not only was he able to overcome the addiction…but God who is able to do abundantly, exceedingly, more than we ask or imagine…changed the course of his family. While Fred’s father was addicted to pornography and passed that sin along to his son…Fred was able to draw a line in the sand and say no further. His son Jason is a man who is committed to purity and stands along with his dad in living and promoting purity.

It was an amazing story. I felt many emotions while listening to the program. I felt deeply grieved and saddened. No more so than to hear about pornography’s hold on Christian males and young people (both men and women). It’s significant and the ramifications are huge for the body of Christ. It renders the men and women that God has called to serve Him ineffective because they are caught in sin.

Any of us who has been caught in sin’s web know how effectively Satan uses it to trap, condemn and bind us. When we are trapped in our own sin…we don’t want to confront people in their sin…because we know that we are hypocrites. We are unwilling to take a stand for the truth because we are deeply embedded in our own sin. We don’t want to serve because we feel unworthy. There is always the nagging doubt…what if someone finds out?

Fred then made a comment about how God instructs husbands to be the leaders of their home and to love their wife as Christ so loves the church.

That thought…of a husband loving his wife as Christ so loved the church…took hold of me. What would that look like…if a husband really loved his wife that way?

What would it look like if Christians loved people as Christ loved the church? How would it affect our actions and how we treat people? What would our words be like?

Obviously, I feel inadequate and lacking when I measure myself against that standard of love. But then I thought…would I want how I love people to be the measure by which Christ loved me?

If Jesus Christ had the measure of love that I have…would He have gone to the cross? Would He have loved me…who denied Him and sinned against Him for far too many years? Would He have forgiven me of my sin?

In my sinful imperfect self…my love is very far from loving others as Christ so loved the church. Yet…as I submit myself to Jesus Christ and the Father’s will for me…if I yield more and more, day by day to the Holy Spirit…if I seek to know God through the study of His word and through prayer…I can grow in sanctification.

As I love God and yield and submit myself…He will help me to grow and learn how to do what’s impossible to do without Him. This side of heaven…I’ll never achieve that perfect love. But that shouldn’t stop me from doing what God has commanded me to do. To have that perfect love...to love as Christ Jesus loved…requires that I deny myself daily.

But oh… to think how marvelous heaven will be…when all the saints around us are able to love with a more perfect love. Love untainted by sin and selfishness.




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