There are a few missing pieces in the current “love all” movement we are seeing in our culture and churches. This new wave of social pressure to take down the walls of morality in order to make us all feel a little more comfortable sounds so attractive. What kind of awful person could argue with the idea that everyone is loved and welcome?
The truth is, as Christ-followers, we are absolutely called to love our neighbors and extend kindness to everyone we encounter. It’s easy to equate acceptance of every set of potential behavior choices as synonymous with love. I personally wish loving everyone the way God calls us to love was that simple. Everyone does what they want, and we call it good!
God’s word teaches and models a much more complex view of love. It’s important that we take time to study what God says is love before we grab onto a love narrative that may lead us away from God’s heart. Not everything that looks good with our own eyes is good. Wisdom is so valuable and something we have to search out in a world filled with competing and cunning voices. The Bible is our anchor, and Jesus is our hope. Those are the places we can lean into when we feel unsure about what the next right step toward him should be.
Luke 21:36 states, “Watch therefore, praying at every season, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things which are about to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” There is a responsibility that comes with becoming a person of faith. We have to seek out what is good, noble, worthy, true, hopeful, and pure. It’s not always easy to follow the narrow way to Jesus, but it is worthwhile.
What Is Biblical Love?
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the ‘love passage’ because it gives us an exhaustive account of what love is according to our Creator. The whole passage is worth reading, but let’s focus on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…”
Love Always Protects
Why is protection necessary? We live in a fallen world. There are limits to what is possible and impossible here on Earth in our bodies. We cannot breathe underwater, and consequently, if we spend too much time under the water, we will drown. We are each born with a specific set of DNA that determines so much about us. While this can be frustrating, it is a limitation that we have to accept and do our best to steward well.
As Christ-followers, additional limitations are placed on us pertaining to how to best live our lives. We are called to love God, love others, and be a holy or set apart people. God gave us the ten commandments to ground our lives in a moral code that will keep us safe. He also gives us clear instructions about how to express ourselves when it comes to our desires and sexuality. Every person that follows Christ has to lay down their earthly identity and desires. We are told we become a new creation when we accept Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is in Him we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Love Without Boundaries Leads to Death
God warns us that there is a way that seems right to a man but leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). We cannot trust our eyes alone. It is vital that we immerse ourselves in the Bible so its timeless truths can keep us on God’s path.
The love the world is clinging to and much of the church has decided to embrace is a love without boundaries. Yet, boundaries are key to a God-centered life. Even at the start of Creation, before the Fall, our ability to have eternity in the Garden with God was contingent on surrendering to a boundary placed by God. God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden (Genesis 3). The disobedience of Adam and Eve ushered into our world the struggles that we all now endure daily. The church and culture are beginning to bend His Word and believe that his design can be changed to better suit our will rather than surrendering even the hardest and scariest parts of us over to Him.
Freedom Happens When We Embrace God’s Love
Each of us struggles in some way. I struggle with anxiety, depression, anger, and more. We all come with thorns in our sides that make this life hard for us. Some of our struggles look like addiction, trauma, lust, pride, covetousness, same-sex attraction, discontent with the body or gender we have been given, medical diagnosis, and the list goes on. The Christian life is about surrendering our struggle to our Creator and asking him to help us to follow him and his word. Even when it feels impossible, God promises to give us the strength we need to overcome. This is how we find freedom!
Without boundaries, we are unable to see the places where we need to grow. If all is acceptable and the Bible has no bearing on the lives we are called to live, then we are doomed to destruction. When we take away sin, we remove the need for a Savior. When we begin to call what God has said is wrong, right, we become more and more blind to our great need for redemption and consequently are more lost in the dark than ever. This is not love. This is the blind leading the blind on a road that leads to death.
God’s love shows us a new way. It protects us from the evil one that is in this world. His Word is trustworthy and powerful. God’s love sets us free to live our best lives with Jesus at the center. We can surrender our struggles to him.
This is all a mysterious work. It’s so tough for us as humans to find the right balance between grace and truth. As a Christ-follower, it’s not our job to condemn but to point others to Jesus and let him do the transformative work in our lives that only he is able to do. We can show kindness and mercy to all, but we can’t change God’s word for the sake of our own comfort. We have to stand on the truth while sharing love through our actions.
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Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God’s Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.