Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Love is the Measure of What is True and Good

During the last few months, I have continued to “introduce” my spirituality. Lately, I’ve arrived the pinnacle of this exercise, claiming the deep and abiding truth that we are the body of Christ. Amazing things happen when we live into this mystery.

I have already shared a few posts on the body of Christ. I shared about recognizing the presence of Christ in everything we do, that the church is not fundamentally an organization but an organism, and that conflict is a natural part of being human … in the church, disagreement is not a problem but an opportunity to love. I envisioned the “basic body parts” of the body as worship, evangelism, teaching, fellowship, and mission.

Today I continue to write on the body of Christ, having attended a few retreats lately. I love getting to know people in settings outside of Sunday mornings! This weekend, I got to attend a women’s retreat and lead music and liturgy. I found myself reading First John chapter 4 during worship.

John writes encouraging us to love one another, since love is of God and everyone who loves knows God. He reminds us that God IS love. He continues that true love is in Christ, who came to us. What we may not realize is that he was writing in the context of a church conflict. These weren't just warm and fuzzy words, but claiming what the true measure of proper teaching is … love. He prefaced these words on love with this: “From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

There were some in the church of John’s time who had separated themselves from the body over a theological dispute, probably an early Gnostic teaching called Docetism, since John says they did not teach that Christ had come in the flesh. It’s fascinating that John says the real measure of what is true is the measure of love itself … nothing more and nothing less. If it leads you to love as God loves, the teaching is of God. That’s it.

Is there a fellow Christian who challenges you, even drives you crazy? They are a gift from God, given to teach you how to love. They help you live the way of forgiveness. The greatest freedom to let go of your resentment and realize that the only thing that really counts is love.