Love and Let Live, #5 in 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church Series

whispers of the Spirit

Listen carefully. Do you hear a voice whispering in the wilderness of our day? You may not be able to hear it over all the extraneous noise. That’s understandable since the loudest voices in our society tend to get the most attention. Their message is loud and clear. “Live and let live!”

According to the English Dictionary, “to live and let live” means to refrain from interfering in others’ lives; to be tolerant. Yes, to avoid getting involved in the lives of others is the easy way to go. And if we embrace all-inclusive tolerance, at least we won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Right?

But wait! What really happens when we decide to live and let live? The opposite of peace and tranquility for all. It’s like a fireman walking past a burning building full of helpless people. The one who is trained to help just strolls by and glibly says, “I don’t want to risk getting burned myself, so I’ll just live and let you die.”

To live and let live is a cruel and heartless philosophy. For it thinks of self first. And with a laissez faire attitude, it leaves others to fend for themselves in a confusing world of lies and deception.

Shrek

In Shrek 2, Live and Let Die, a song by Paul McCartney says it well. “ . . . if this ever changing world in which we live in makes you give in and cry, say live and let die.”

How do we hear the Holy Spirit whisper above the noise? If we allow God to tune our hearts to pick up the signal, we won’t miss it. And instead of telling us to live and let live, I’m confident God’s whisper will encourage us to love and let live

Remember the song that says what the world needs now is love? That’s certainly true, but the kind of love we need is not an uninformed, loosely described and short-lived love. What we really need is God’s Agape love released around the world through God’s people.

I believe this with all my heart. Therefore, #5 in the 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church is all about God’s love. *It is the responsibility of church leaders to train and prepare God’s people

1. to understand and apply the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our moment-by-moment everyday lives.

2. to understand how to study and apply God’s Word.

3. to understand and utilize the privilege and the power of prayer.

4. to understand how to minister to others by utilizing their motivational spiritual gifts.

5. to understand how to love one another and to develop a heart for the lost and needy.

God’s love if very different than human love. It is paid for, all-inclusive and unconditional. In fact, He loved the world so much He gave the life of His Son to pay the penalty for all of our sins, regardless of our man-made philosophies.

message from God

In the book of Revelation, John conveys God’s heart in a message to the church of Ephesus. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches . . . Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. . . .” (2:4,5&7a) NLT

In his day, A.W. Tozer spoke of congregations that seemed to be “bogged down with moral boredom.” In Tozer’s opinion, “The church is tired, discouraged, and unastonished—Christ seems to belong to yesterday.”

Is this really true? If it is, what can we do about it? In the Revelation passage, God gives the church credit for hard work and patient suffering, as well as discerning false prophets and denouncing evil people. But what good is all this if we’ve lost our first love for God and one another?

According to God’s prescription written to God’s people in God’s Church, we must go back to where we got off track. Back to the cross to repent of doing our “work” in our own power and for our own purposes.

What happens if we don’t repent and go back to our first love for God and one another? God’s Word says He will remove us from the lampstand on which He has placed us. He has given us a platform, not to position us to shout condemnation to the world and those different than ourselves.

Rather, from His lampstand, God promises to shine His love through us into a very dark world. We may think we’re only a whisper in the wilderness. But our love for God and one another will eventually echo around the world and into the hearts and lives of the lost and needy. And the message will be loud and clear: Love and let live. Forever!”

lampstand

How have you seen God’s love displayed by His people? How did this affect your walk with God and your love for others?

woman on computer

(note: I’m taking a short break to visit with friends and family. But I hope you’ll be on the look-out for Characteristic #6 in our series.  Not sure when that will be, but my goal is to finish this series soon. I’m looking forward to wrapping it up and I’ll bet you’ll be glad, as well. Had no idea it would take me this long to complete it. But that’s what happens when you think, pray and write as  you go! Thanks for persevering.)

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Comments
2 Responses to “Love and Let Live, #5 in 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church Series”
  1. Barbara Plachta says:

    Thank you Liz for doing this blog, I so enjoy each and everyone of them. Enjoy your visit with family and friends and I’ll look forward to reading about Characteristic #6.

    • Thanks, Barb for checking in. Your encouragement means so much to me. And I’m so glad we’re able to stay connected since we don’t get to see each other nearly enough! It’s people like you that motivate me to pursue knowing God better and to share His love with others.
      Love you, Liz

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