Thursday, March 16, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 8 – Love

This series of posts* is not designed for you to follow my example directly. Some may, and that is fine, but the main goal is to help the reader to identify a process and to use mine as an example. Of course, the 4L’s are designed to hold true for anyone, but how they fit the collective understanding of the 4L Model of Discipleship will need to be adapted into your own life’s goals and purposes.

*At the conclusion of this post, I have included links for each of the previous posts. Due to the length of this series and the frequency of referencing certain concepts in each post, this system will allow the present post to not be cluttered with an inordinate amount of links.

The next step to consider is that of LOVE. The problem with this step is that my intention is misinterpreted. When we think of love, most people will naturally think of people, which is certainly appropriate. And, in a very real sense, this Step does require a love for people. In fact, how can being a disciple of Jesus not include the love of people? For as Jesus says the greatest commandment is to Love God and the second is like it – Love Others. As Mark recounts this statement, Jesus concludes this statement with “There is not other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12.31). Notice what Jesus is saying – no greater commandment (singular) than these (plural). Jesus has fused the two commandments (Deuteronomy 6.4-5 and Leviticus 19.18) into one meaning it is impossible to truly love God without loving people (1 John 4.20-21).

But loving someone requires more than words. And this is the important part of this Step. An expression of our love for God is to keep His commandments (John 14.15; 15.10, 14). In other words, our actions are an expression of our love for one another and our love for God. And our actions are represented in how we LIVE (Step 2). So, the things we do (LIVE) when done with the right motivation (LOVE) allow us to move from Step 2 to Step 3.

Consider it this way. We all have things we have to do. Maybe these “have tos” relate to work or to-do lists at home, but many tasks that we do on a regular basis we do because we must. But some people do the very same tasks and “love to” do them. Depending upon the task, we may find their attitude strange, but nonetheless, their attitude is far beyond treating the task as mundane. Perhaps, at one time, the task was something these others did because they “had to” to do it. But something changed over time.

That is essentially the point of this third step – LOVE. Jesus commanded His disciples to teach others to observe all that He commanded (Live). Let’s be honest, some of those commands are hard. One of the hardest is actually a command to love – loving your enemy. In this one command, we are to properly live by loving, which may seem possible until we realize it is about our enemy. But what if we LEARN to LIVE through a LOVE for what we do.

Consider the one thing the disciples eagerly asked Jesus to teach them – how to pray (Luke 11.1). They wanted to LEARN to pray. The desire to do this was so they would actually pray (LIVe). But, we know that prayer was a task for them just as it is for most of us (see Mark 14.38 and 40 – they could not stay awake to pray!). But over time, I suspect the disciples found prayer as less of a task they “had to” do, but rather something they looked forward to doing. That is, they began to “love to” pray. That is the essence of this step – loving what we do for (and with) God and others after we begin to observe what He has commanded.

Most of us know people who “love to” give or “love to” serve or any number of other aspects of living. Each of us have certain tasks we may appreciate more than others, but a true disciple will begin to accept some commands as easier than others, and, over time (ideally), learn to appreciate living each of them as a matter of service to God and others. As we do, we can truly say that our service to God and others is not just a matter of duty, but a reflection of love. When this happens, our actions express LOVE in a way that our words never truly can.

This is the hardest step for me. Some actions are easier than others, but some people are easier than others. But Jesus does not ask me to be selective in keeping His commands, nor does He want me to be selective in my service to others. While that does not mean that I can, or should, do everything for everyone, I must continue to grow in this area so that I can be more effective in the next step – LEAD, where making disciples is the goal.

As I LOVE, I better LIVE the life that I know God wants for me. I have a long way to go, but as I continue to LEARN, I will be able to realize my Strategy, fulfill my Mission, and achieve the Vision of becoming the man God wants me to be, which includes to “walk in love” (Ephesians 5.1-2).

Prior Posts:
4L Model – Matthew 4.19
4L Model – Matthew 28.19 
4L – Spiral
4L – Vision
4L – Mission
4L – Strategy
4L – Steps
4L – Learn
4L – Live

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.