GM: Yesterday I visited a friend who went with me to Singapore for a three week Leadership Course in Evangelism in 2002. Most of the attendees were evangelicals. Only two or three of approximately forty men, including yours truly were from traditional churches. Went back in time to where this E mail then blogging Ministry on a Sunday night, and now ( almost) daily WhatsApp Ministry started. And which Ministry, by God’s grace, has grown so much over the years. Praise God!
All because of a very profoundly moving public display, with tears, during an early morning worship service, by one the attendees; because he loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart.
Having, therefore, witnessed this ‘ phenomenon’, previously absent from my experience in church, I wrote to tell a dear friend, a sister in Christ, and a Priest in my church, about it. She responded by encouraging me to spend some time reflecting on the words of a hymn in our Anglican hymnbook.
THE HYMN ( A SLIGHTLY EDITED VERSION)
My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
upon the Cross embrace:
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace.
and griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself – and all for me
who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesu Christ,
should I not love thee well?……
not from the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;
but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever- loving Lord…..
Then last night, during my devotions, not sure what reading triggered it, came this thought:
” If you love the Lord Jesus you have to love people “.
Then this morning, the Lord woke me early to read about the ‘various laws’ in Leviticus chapter 19. And about the dangers of self- love
THE PROBLEM OF SELF-LOVE
Francois Fenelon ( 1651-1715…an influential Bishop in the UK; writer lecturer and administrator)
Verse: Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Self-love must be uprooted, and the love of God take it’s place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are. Then the same principle that enables us to see our imperfections will destroy them……
It is a sensitive self-love that cannot forgive the self-love of others. The more self-love we have , the more severe are our censures.
There is nothing so vexatious as the collision between one excessive self-love and another still more violent and sensitive. The passions of others are infinitely ridiculous to those who are the dominion of their own.
The ways of God are very different. He is ever full of kindness for us, he gives us strength, he regards us with pity and condescension, he remembers our weakness, he waits for us.
The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others. We wait for providence to give the occasion, and grace to open their hearts to receive it. If you would gather the fruit before its time, you lose it entirely.
1. In pursuit of brevity, I left out about a third of this reflection, and have spent a fair amount of time, in the past, trying to plumb the depths of it.
2. I would recommend that all married couples, of recent or otherwise vintage, matters not , take this reflection seriously. It will certainly prevent a lot of the inevitable ‘ teeth and tongue’ from meeting.
3. Would to God that all politicians and journalists, and Priests, and all who are so quick to criticise others, would spend time thinking about the profound truths embedded in this reflection.
4. Finally, this reflection, very profoundly, addresses the way we ought to engage in Evangelism. Beginning with love for others, in the same way God loved us. And who as the hymn writer reminded us. ‘ was thine enemy’. Followed by patience, triggered by love and an appreciation of our own imperfections. And a warning at the end; that if self-love and all that comes with it, if not replaced by the love of God, will cause us to ‘ lose the harvest (fruit) completely.
Pray God that one day we may all achieve this death of self- love…it really has to die….and witness the birth of the love of God in our souls. For the sake of self, family, community and nation; ultimately, however, for the Glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ. And who is to be worshipped in Singapore, in the USA, in #Jamaicalandwelove and the entire world.