If we were lovers

I admit it.

I like catchy titles.  Not because they get you to click on them, but because they become an amuse-bouche. Amuse-bouche is a food term. They are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone. These are served for two reasons:

1. To prepare the guest for the meal
2. To offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.

Today’s amuse-bouche, “If we were lovers,” will do both:

1. Prepare you for a life that will “taste and see the Lord is good
2. Give you a glimpse to a Godly approach to life.

Love is always has issues.  I hear the word “love,” my mind goes in a number of places.  It’s such a general word in the english language.  But when I hear the word “lover,” my definition becomes more specific. When we think of the word “lovers,” we always turn toward intimate thoughts. I hear the word and my mind goes to my wife (I’m sure Anne is relieved).  I’m not trying to sound perverted…I’m just developing a thought.

You and I were created to be lovers…

…of God.

(I was looking for a dramatic pause but it’s hard to type a dramatic pause.)

I turn my attention toward 1 Timothy 3:2:

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

We are consumed with self.  We are consumed with satisfying the cravings of our own desires. Even when we read our bibles or look for churches to attend, it’s usually not about what I can bring to a church community but what can the church do for me. My simple, and maybe pitiful example: I think of moment in the car where the four of us are all craving something different and we begin to argue over where we should eat.  No one is listening…our hunger for what WE desire has closed our ears and set our will to get what WE want. It’s such a minor example, but how often have we been upset at spouses, children, and coworkers because we were so bound by what we want as opposed to serving others. How often have we blown a gasket at a pastor or a church member because our approach to church has been based, not upon what pleases the Lord, but what pleases us.  It is so opposite from the direction Paul gave the church at Philippi.

Whether or not, you were born for relationship. You were handcrafted for intimacy (spiritual, social, physical, etc). You are born to be a lover.  But when we act out selfishly…when the universe, in our mind, revolves around self…we have chose to take up the mantle of being a lover of self.

In 1 Timothy, Paul uses a word, a Greek word, that helps us understand what God thinks about money. The word is philautos. If you were Greek, you would see immediately what this word is all about because it is made up of two words. The first is the is philos, a word that means “friend”. The last is autos, the Greek word for “myself, itself, the same.”

If you combine these, you get “a self friend” or “a love friendship with self.” Most of our translations will say “lovers of self.” Looking closer, the core of this word is philos. It means more than “friend”. It means, “beloved, dear, befriended and kind”. It’s the word for someone cherished. It’s a very personal, relationship-based word. That’s the point behind the use in this verse. It’s a warning to not let your selfish desires be cherished more than a friend. Your desires are not to become what drives your relationships. If so, you’ve become a lover of self.  And Paul’s warning: Avoid those people!!! Stay away from them!

Why stay away? Because from their selfishness will syphon life from you.  This was Paul’s description of us when we act opposite from what the Lord intended us to be.  We are “vampires” sucking life from others to please our closest friend: self.  The remedy:

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

The verse almost sounds selfish.  It’s very selfish or “self-loving” if you read it incorrect. I’ve heard TV preachers misread it as to help position people prosper financially.  That mindset turns Jesus into a genie in a bottle and whenever we want something, we ask and he gives it. There are two giving points in Psalm 37:4:

1. Delight in the Lord – The word “delight” means to be happy about, take exquisite delight.  Who do we take exquisite delight in? The Lord…NOT because we get anything but because of WHO HE IS!!!

2. When we do, he “gives” us (to give, bestow, grant, lend, entrust, deliver up, produce) desires to put in our hearts .  As a lover of God, we empty ourselves of all selfishness and  delight in Him.  Again, it’s not because of what we get because He is great and greatly to be praised. AND a byproduct of our delight, is He puts desires (request, petition, desire) in our heart.  I promise, those desires can only be brought to fruition by remaining a lover…of God. (another dramatic pause)

You want great things in your life, family, marriage, etc.

Stop going after what you want.

Stop being a lover of self.

Become a lover of God.

I want a healthy marriage.  Only way I can do it: become a lover of God.  I give Him everything and He gives me the desire for a heathy marriage.  Part of those desires includes loving Anne as Christ loved the church.

I want to lead a healthy church.  Only way I can do it: become a lover of God. I give Him KFirst and He gives me the desire and the strength to serve a congregation I love by modeling the Master Shepherd.

I hope you are challenged to be a lover today.  I hope you passionately pursue Christ…not for what He’ll do for you, but because of who He is.

The rest (desires) just come as the natural flow of the love relationship with our creator.

Thanks for letting me ramble….

 

pdbarringer

Anne's Husband. Cammi & Ethan's Dad Lead Pastor @kalamazoofirst

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