Love One Another by Tim Graves
Love One Another by Tim Graves

Many followers of Jesus, it would seem, do so for a selfish reason. They are Christians because they want salvation. They want to avoid eternal damnation to Hell. For many, this is the beginning and end of faith. This is a selfish faith.

For others the preoccupation with salvation extends to concern for people who do not “know Jesus” or “accept Jesus” into their heart. In their understanding of faith, compassion requires them to evangelize nonbelievers aggressively for their own well-being. They are genuinely worried about others. (Sadly, it doesn’t feel that way to folks being told there is only one way to avoid fiery pits.) This is a worried faith.

This is not my faith or god. The One who loves extravagantly does not stop loving me when I do not love back. That is not love.

This does not give us carte blanche to act in evil ways. Hardly. The god that I experience keeps at us pushing us, encouraging us, and enticing us to respond to godself and others lovingly. Once we accept the love of the One, by whatever name, we want to be better beings. This is a loving faith.

You see, when we perceive the magnanimous, relentless salvific love of God, we want to love back. We want to love in the same way. And, so, we choose to co-create a world (with God) in which all feel the love that binds creation and the divine together. We begin by loving.

Loving One, your love is palpable if we but open ourselves to you. Help us to be extensions of your love to all our earthly family. Amen.

4 thoughts on “Choosing a Spirituality of Self, Worry, or Love

  1. I have found that many Christians are worried Christians and behave accordingly, because they have interpreted certain passages of scripture in such a way that they sincerely believe that the Lord would want them to think and act in the way that they do.

    There are so many ways that people can err. I know that I have erred in the past in many ways, and I still catch myself in error on a daily basis even now. There are times when I am a “Selfish Christian”, times when I am a “Worried Christian”, and then there are times when I am a “Loving Christian”. I wish that I would more frequently yield to the Lord in order to have my mind renewed, and subsequently experience transformation…… but I don’t. However, I can pray about that and trust that the Lord would grant me that petition in His own time and way. since it would be one that is according to His will.

    Below are a some passages of scripture that comfort me, They suggest that if I share scripture too little, too much, or even if I share it with the wrong attitude the Lord cares too much about the welfare of those on the receiving end to let it cause eternal damage. Here they are:

    “5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Psalm 39:5 KJV

    “33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!
    34 For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor?” Romans 11:33-34 AMP

    “8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

    11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 KJV

    “26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.
    27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.
    28 We are assured and know that [[j]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:26-28 AMP

    I was wondering if you could share the typical Bible verses that people tend to interpret in such a way that that as a result, they misunderstand, and become worried Christians. I believe that if you could also share what you think would be the actual intended interpretation of those verses it would be very helpful not only for those who are worried Christians, but also for those who have been hurt by them, and are struggling with frustration or even resentment toward them as a result of their misplaced zeal.

    Blessings,
    Theresa.

    1. Theresa, thanks again for your comment. I like the idea of exploring each of the passages that folks tend to interpret in a way that leads to being worried or selfish Christians. I suspect that the worry or selfishness often comes before the passage. That is, folks interpret their feelings into the scripture rather than the scripture into themselves/feelings.

  2. I agree. My heart really goes out to them. There is a Bible verse that says Fear has torment. There are so many tormented souls out there who are so sincere in their efforts. Just think how the apostle Paul behaved prior to his Damascus road experience. God changed him. We can hope that God will change these people.

  3. Once again, spot on, Tim. You are totally right. I actually started in the former and finally am starting to wake to the Loving Faith, as you call it. It is actually pretty liberating when one gets it that the “Get Out of Hell” card is not the whole point, and it makes Jesus even more incredible and amazing to behold. Thanks for sharing some wonderful thoughts again!

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