Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blest Guest Wednesday #11: Why Is Love the Greatest of All the Gifts from God? (Kathleen Smith)

At times, my crazy travel schedule interferes with my ability to post regularly, and I have to bring a little sanity to the blogging part of my life by asking for help. I am now entering one such crazy period. Some wonderful fellow bloggers have been willing to write guest posts for me on Wednesdays, hence the name "Blest Guest Wednesday."

As today's "Blest Guest," I asked Kathleen Smith (Heart 2 Heart), who comments on Blest Atheist frequently, to share something she thought would be interesting to BA readers. I think you will find her post interesting, so here goes:

Why Is Love the Greatest of All the Gifts from God?

I was reading tonight a book about Heaven and what it's actually going to be like. After all, it is where me and my family know for certain we are going when we die, so wouldn't you like to know a little bit about what it's like? I will discuss some of those things with you tomorrow but it isn't really about a tunnel of light either!

So the question that presented itself in my readings pertains to the chapter in the Bible known as the chapter about love. 1 Corinthians 13:13, which reads, in case you don't happen to have a Bible handy, is " and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So why is love the greatest? To figure this out, you need to go back to the Bible in Genesis to when God originally created a sin free world with Adam and Eve. The garden and world in which God created was perfect! No sin, or sinful thoughts or any evil. Adam was having conversations with God in the garden so there was a sense of an intimate relationship with God. Adam didn't pray to God, but he actually talked to him like we do with close friends and relatives. So if you are living in a sin free world, it's easy to see why love remains the greatest.

Remember that the world we live in today is filled with sin and a sin filled nature. Which is why, even after we are saved, we will continue to struggle and often times go back to things we know we shouldn't, like books, movies, TV shows, language and other things. God never said once you give your life to him, becoming a Christian, that your life would be carefree and easy. In fact, the opposite is true. We are faced with more struggles because the enemy, the devil, does not want us to wind up with God in Heaven. His goal is to take out as many of us as possible before his time is up.

But God when he returns promises to destroy the earth as we know it and will create a new heaven and a new earth in which sin will be removed. Imagine that! No pain or suffering is easy to believe along with no more death. We will never have to face the fact of losing someone close to us ever again. The other thing is we will restore that intimate relationship with God and Jesus Christ. We will see them face to face. So there will not be a need to pray anymore. We won't need anything which is why we pray. We will have it all.

Our sinful nature and thoughts will go away as well. No more doubting things, no more evil thoughts ever!!!

So now that that relationship with God was severed on the initimate level we have to have faith. What is faith?

Let's define that. The dictionary states that faith is

1a: allegiance to duty or a person;

1b loyalty (1): fidelity to one's promises; (2)sincerity of intentions;

2a (1) belief and trust in and loyalty to God; (2) belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion;

2b (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof; (2) complete trust;

3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction, especially a system of religious beliefs.

Basically, in a nutshell, faith is believing in something you don't see but believe is there.

Since we will be in heaven and everything we wanted to know will be revealed, we don't need faith anymore. God won't allow disbelievers of God or Jesus into heaven so the only people there are the ones who believed when they didn't see. Remember the Beatitudes? Blessed are those that are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

So with no needing of faith, that one is gone. Now we have hope left, so let's define hope.

Here is the definition according to Webster's:

intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2 (archaic): trust

transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

Well, for now we can hope for a better life. We can hope to be reunited with our loved ones. It, again, is something we want and trust but can't be sure will happen until it does or doesn't. So, back to the new heaven and earth, if all our desires are provided for and given to us, what else is there to want?

That leaves love. To see why that is the greatest goes beyond the initial love, the romantic feel-good, emotional love that comes and goes. What I am talking about is the act of love. Unconditional love with expecting nothing in return when you give it. That is the love God gave us.

Imagine you are a parent and you have a child. No matter what your child does in life, you will always love him or her unconditionally. But let's say you had a child that was perfect in every way. Yes, to some parents, we would love a child like that. But a child that never talked back, never did anything wrong, always listened. Perfect in every way.

You go to a city one day with your child and find yourself in the middle of the courtyard that is filled with people who are about to be put to death based on their horrible, evil crimes: mass murderers, liars, thieves, rapists, (you fill in the blank with any crime that makes you sick or cringe). The men are ready to receive their just punishments. After all, we punish our children when they doing something that is wrong. Then, you hear about the worst one there, the evilest of all the criminals and he is about to be put to death by the executioner unless someone steps forward to take his place. You hear laughsfrom the crowd around you. People begin to shout for the execution to take place, and some in the crowd throw things at the man. Then you step forward and offer your child to take the man's place.

People in the crowd begin to whisper about how you could sacrifice your child for one of this city's most notorious and evil criminals. But you say I am glad I could do this for you. You owe me nothing. You watch the criminal walk away without being executed. How would you think the criminal should react?

If I were the criminal, I would be eternally grateful, offering to work for you or do something for you as payment.

Or would you say thanks or not say thanks perhaps and simply walk away?

The story is real!

The child as you may have guessed is Jesus Christ, and the parent who gives up his perfect child is God our Father. We deserve the punishment we should receive for all of our evil doings in the world. True, we may not be the most notorious and evil criminal or ever think of doing those things but the Bible says all fall short of the glory of God! Every one of us was doomed to be executed, but Jesus took it all for us so that we may have eternal life if we simply believe in Him. It is by His grace to offer us the gift of His son, that we can have faith and hope while we wait to return to Heaven when our lives are over.

Will you simply choose to be like the criminal and just say thanks and walk away! The great thing is that even though we would want to give that guy the world, he wanted nothing from us, but our love. That is why I believe that love remains the greatest.

Now that you know, what will you do with this gift?

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