We live in a world of instants. Instant food; instant photographs; instant entertainment. We want it all, and we want it now. This is a reality of life. We have drive thru restaurants, and coffee houses, and we still find it to not be fast enough.
The average person will take seventeen selfies before they even get out of bed in the morning, in an attempt to get the perfect photo. This is the world we live in. We expect things to happen in an instant, and when it doesn’t happen, we get offended.
The reason that we get offended is due to a lack of love. If we truly love like Jesus loved, then we become unoffendable. When we become believers, old things pass away, and we are made a new creation. In accepting the gift of Christ’s love, we are called on to share this gift with others, and if we do not love, then we can’t do that.
Pastor Phyl once more, highlighted the passage of scripture from Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart” that underpins this series. He then said that he would share with us two points.
Firstly, Love does not happen. It needs cultivation. If we sow good seeds we get good fruit. If we sow weeds, we get weeds, and if we sow nothing, we get weeds. The truth is that we can’t just ‘let it happen’, we have to work at it. If we don’t cultivate love in our hearts, then we leave space for the weeds of offence.
Some words are very difficult to explain. In Welsh, the word ‘Cwtch’ is used a lot. There is no literal translation for this word. The closest way to explain it is that it is like a hug, but amplified. Similarly, the word ‘hiraeth’, has no literal translation. It’s closest translation is ‘a longing for home’. The English language also falls short in it’s ability to explain the word ‘love’, and as such, has four separate definitions.
- Agape – a sacrificial love, where we put our own needs and wants second to someone else’s.
- Eros – a romantic love
- Philia – a love between friends
- Storge – a parental love
Secondly, Pastor Phyl gave us seven ways in which we can cultivate love. The thing is, love is not a magic potion you take. It doesn’t happen spontaneously. It is an act of our will. It is a decision that we must make.
Pastor Phyl read from 1 Corinthians 13, before giving these seven points:
- We must be patient and kind – or “Smile and wave”. We must ‘suck it up’, and as we live the life that God has ordered for us, our hearts will change.
- Do not envy – or “Develop an attitude of gratitude”. We are called to be satisfied with what we have.
- Does not boast, and is not proud – or “avoid false humility”. Humility means thinking about ourselves less. However, we must be careful to not put ourselves down. We are called to use what God has given us for His glory. False humility, mocks the glory of God.
- It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking – or “Be a nice human”. Ephesians 4:29 says “Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”. We must build people up. We are called to compliment, and not criticise others.
- It is not easily angered – or “Put the pin back in”. We know exactly what we would like to say, but we must exercise self control and speak love other those who upset us.
- It keeps no record of wrongs – or “Let it go. Hit Delete. Do an update!!”. Sometimes we just need to do a reboot of our minds, and clear the offences that we may have stored up in our hearts, replacing it with love and forgiveness. The truth here is that Jesus has given us a firmware update, and it is down to us to accept it and fix all of the ‘bugs’ in our hearts.
- It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth – or “See the good in everyone”. If we trust God, He will give us the power to stand in love, rather than allowing offence to pollute our hearts.
Finishing his sermon, Pastor Phyl referred to Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Scriptures: Proverbs 4:23, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:29, Romans 12:18