Thursday, March 31, 2016

Favor - or Love? by Pam Clark

I have a friend in another state who shared with me (and some others) about a lady who got hit by a car, amongst some other troubles she had, and people in her church.... selah.... were saying that she had a demon because she was under attacks (and they didn't know how to deal with it, or want to). The lady was then hurt even more hurt by that! Well, as an example, this story could be multiplied over many places. I asked, "Where is the teaching on love, what real love is?"
And as I pondered this, I realized that many are teaching on the FAVOR of God (and that power) and not on the LOVE of God, which is who He is. Now some people need favor, many of us do, and we do have to learn HOW to accept it and then handle it, but if we miss the right foundation of Love, we become hateful mean people in the name of Religion.
Do we REALLY believe in Love? Or do we just equate that with FAVOR? Now Love is not a rulebook, it is relationship. Discipline can help us in our relationships, but Love is knowing God, because God is Love!
So do we even really want to know God??? I don't think Love is extreme sports either, because extreme sports is not for everybody, but it is a thrill to some. Each to his own on that one, I say. (To them, enduring the Cross is extreme sports, but that is not the real story, because Jesus suffered to His death, then rose.)
Love cares about the well being of others and is willing to give in practical ways towards that. It is not merely "charity" like we know charity today, which is usually just giving out of our excess.
Love invests, but it invests because it believes. And it will sacrifice from time to time because of it. Jesus didn't just come to die but to live too! Why do you think He healed people??? I think we make some martyrs before their time!
Love is also not a flavor of the month, with this trait or that. Love has flavor and an essence that takes on many forms. The Apostle Paul said Love has a fragrance that people respond to differently! And we have to learn how to navigate that.
But Love wants the best for folks because it is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY. But if He is not IN us and we can't see or look for Him in others, then we fall for the secondary which is Favor and that definitely will appeal to the world. (And then we wonder why we have problems.)
We love Him, because He first loved us. But if we don't know that Love, we can't evolve and grow and mature; and if we want favor over Love, then we pull on people and make idols of them, expecting them to "perform" all the time and provide. And people freak out over all that.
But most of all, if we don't look for Him in others, then we really can't relate to them. Life then becomes about strategy for favor more than Love and the life Christ died for is thrown by the wayside. And that means people too, like this precious lady who goes to church looking for some support and answers that work for her.
I know many pain in the rear people to me, but I look for Jesus in them, because He will speak to me there. It doesn't matter what place they are in, my spirit is hungry for the fellowship of Him in their lives. And sometimes He is asking me to give to them and sometimes they are supposed to give to me - that is His sweet fellowship and when it all works, it is a beautiful thing! Some people have symptoms that are not the real problem. Are we smart enough to catch on?
But also we are growing as a Body and that maturity knows how to reach out in greater and greater ways, and even has to learn how to receive in greater and greater ways. There can be a rythmic cycle and bumps in the road often can take us to higher places.
But it is never about favor over Love. And God will course correct all of us. He is fair and He is just. It may take some time, but He is the Last Word on it. We just have to work to not get offended and that is a challenge. But it is possible if your faith is in the God of Love over favor.
The enemy will strategize to get you off of Love onto favor because our flesh nature seems to be so close to the surface. There will be fear or anger from provocations; there will be even losses and needs that seem severe. But this is not just a test of faith but an opportunity for advancement in the Spirit. Our work is to believe, and we have to work to believe that God is doing that.
Comparing ourselves one to another can also be a trap for falling into favor over Love. Man creates these standards on "what it means to be a Christian" and then there is strife because there are so many Christians in different places with different circumstances and cultures. We will undermine the work of God within and that will only set us back.
But if we recognize the differences and become aware, we will advance to a greater life, and have that more abundantly. Heart check!

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