Saturday, February 13, 2016

Blinded By Love

Have you ever been so in love that you missed many red flags flying right in front of your face?

When I was in my early 20s, I began dating a girl I would eventually become engaged, and later un-engaged to. We had a lot in common and a long history of friendship together. However, there were a few core differences in our worldviews that from time to time would cause some major disagreements. But, I loved her and really wanted to get married, so I chose to focus on the positives and explain-away the rest.
During that relationship, I alienated myself from my best friend, who, like my family, could see the red flags I was unwilling to acknowledge. He was the best friend I’ve ever had, and the best friend I’ve ever lost. So much heartache ensued from me loving my then-girlfriend more than godly counsel. Proverbs 12:1 has something to say about that.

Similarly, over the last several months I’ve been seeing many red flags in American Christendom. A concern has been growing in me for American Christians who seem to have fallen in love with this or that political candidate, particularly those candidates that claim to be Christians. Supposed followers of Jesus.

When you listen to these bearers of the Name speak, particularly in debates or in their speeches, ask yourself how many of their words are filled with boasting, arrogance, envy, jealousy, rudeness or selfish ambition. Why? Because according to the Bible, their words will tell you a lot about their motives and what their faith is actually in. Their words reveal red flags to those who are willing to see.

Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV)

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. (James 3:14-16 NASB)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16 NASB)

In my undergrad, my homiletics professor Dr. Brooks once said, “When we’re bumped we spill what we’re filled with.” Throughout the campaign trail, we get to see the candidates bumped over and over again. If we’re willing to take off our rose-colored glasses, we get to see men and women who are attempting to be the most powerful person on the planet reveal what is really in their hearts.

Cyprian was the bishop of Carthage in the middle of the 3rd century CE. He was a wealthy lawyer until he heard the gospel message. When he surrendered his life to Jesus, he literally sold all of his possessions and gave the money to the poor, just like the opportunity Jesus gave to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Cyprian wrote this about the connection between our words and our hearts:

“Holy Scripture meets and warns us, saying, ‘But he who presumes and is haughty, the man who boasts of himself, who has enlarged his soul as hell, shall accomplish nothing.’ … Exaltation, and puffing up, and arrogant and haughty boastfulness, spring not from the teaching of Christ who teaches humility, but from the spirit of Antichrist. … By his mouth, therefore, and by his words, is every one at once betrayed; and whether he has Christ in his heart, or Antichrist, is discerned in his speaking, according to what the Lord says in His Gospel, ‘O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’” (Cyprian, Vol. 5 p. 602-603 [CD-ROM])

During this heightened political season, I want to encourage you with the words of Psalm 146:3 (NASB) to, “not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” Instead, put your hope in the Lord, in whom there are no red flags. Love King Jesus more and more. For, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:22-23 ESV).”

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