I have come to the belief that the vast majority of people who truly understand the full measure of what God has done for us on the cross, they will not turn away. We are designed by God to be loved. We want to be loved. We crave love. We want people to accept us, to like us, to want to be around us. To be hated, despised, discarded, rejected, lonely, isolated is the worst imaginable feeling we can experience. God’s design, a heart that desires to be loved, also becomes the devil’s playground.
Because we want to be loved so desperately, we spend all of our time trying to get people to love us, like us, want us, need us. Consider the lengths people go to just to find love. The human spirit struggles with constant self-analysis attempting to assess our own desirability, likeability. These self-therapy sessions produce cognitive distortions and we leave our own couch with thoughts like…
“I’m too fat.”
“I’m not smart enough.”
“I’m an idiot.”
And questions like…
“Why doesn’t my husband want to be around me?”
“Why can’t I make my wife happy?”
“Why do the kids not call?”
And when our relationships turn sour, whether it’s a blood-relation or romantic, our desire to be loved causes us to criticize what others may be doing that make us feel unloved. And we press for them to change their behavior. This is a pattern I have seen continually in marriage counseling. When things get sour, the temptation is to stop loving and spend all of our energy trying to get people to love us. The devil laughs and laughs as he uses God’s design to poison our soul. And this brings me to our Verse of the Day:
1 Corinthians 1:18
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NIV)
This passage is drawing a comparison between those living and those perishing. Generally speaking, it is a comparison between believers and unbelievers. However, the word ‘perishing’ here is not referring to eternal death. It is referring to a state in our life where the spirit of death is winning for a moment. We all fall prey to death from time to time. During these times, the natural path of our mind rejects the message of the cross.
The message of the cross, simply put, is sacrificial love. It is agape. It is God loving us as we are rejecting Him. Calvary paints the picture perfectly. “Father, forgive them,” He says as they mock, jab, spit, and desert Him. This is the message of the cross and it carries with it the power of God.
Knowing that God loves me to this degree even at my worst, when I am totally denying Him, rejecting Him, and sinning against Him is powerful. It is powerful to the point that my heart is broken for Him and I turn back to Him (1 John 4:19). This agape is powerful to turn heads, change hearts, undo wrongs, overwhelm hatred. It seems foolish at the moment to put forth great effort to keep loving with patience, kindness, and blessing when someone is screaming at us and raking us over the coals. But that seems foolish in the moment. Our natural self wants to retaliate. “Vengeance is mine, saith me.”
To love others as Jesus loved us on the cross even while we overtly sinned against Him releases the power of God. To love when unloved, to forgive when accused, to be patient as they scream, to speak no ill as they gossip, to build up while being torn down. This is the message of the cross and the power of God. We are designed to be loved by God. The temptation of this world is to believe that we need others to love us all the time. This is an impossibility. They are not God. Let God love you through and through fulfilling your most innate desire. Then, you will have all the love you need so when others withhold theirs, you can keep on loving. This is the message of the cross and the power of God.
Leave me a comment. How well do you love when unloved? To know it releases the power of God, are you more motivated?
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!