Love is Greater Than Religion

The Old Covenant law:  Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5

Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people but love your neighbor as yourself.  Leviticus 19:18

The New Covenant law:  Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength.  The second is like it, you should love your neighbor as yourself, there is no commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:30

How Love Outshines Religion

 Because Love covers over a multitude of sin, 1 Peter 4:8.

This message of Love was not new, Jesus was repeating the words God spoke to Moses, simply speaking to “Love God and Love people.”

Did Jesus come to start a new religion?   No, He declared that He was the fulfillment of the law, (teachings) and the prophets.

The Ten commandments, also known as the Ten Words of God, revealed and condemned man’s sin.  The goat referred to as the scapegoat in Leviticus 16:10 and the sin offering in Numbers 7  and many other references, foreshadows Jesus.  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

The first five books of the Old Covenant/Testament, the Torah, is the law.  “…because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth”—Romans 2:20

“Jesus came to testify to the truth,” John 18:37

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth, John 1:14.

John 1:1 tells us that in the beginning was the Word,(Christ) and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  God’s Word spoke all things into existence.

Paul says it plainly to the Ephesians 3:9 Also to enlighten all men, to make plain to them the plan of the mystery concealed until now in God Who created all things by Christ Jesus.

Okay, I’ll sum this up because it’s so huge and deep that it can be overlooked without the Holy Spirit illuminating it to our finite way of thinking.   Jesus Christ or Y’shuah the Messiah, the embodiment of the Word, (the Torah and the Prophets) took on the sin of the whole world.  Just like the lamb foreshadowed the sin offering of the law, every required feast foreshadowed the exact day, time and order things would happen at the time of Y’shuah.  For instance, there are traditionally seven feasts the Jewish people were required to keep and some do to this day.  The first four have been fulfilled to the exact day and times by the death and resurrection of Y’shuah.   His birth was also most likely on the Feast of Tabernacles, (God tabernacles with man) since Isaiah prophesied of a day when God would be with us or Immanuel.  This leaves the feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur unaccounted for but we know there will be a Resurrection day still to come with the sound of the shofar and Judgement day.

From the beginning of time, in the fullness of time, to the end of time.  Y’suaha being the Word of God, became the seed of a woman, just like Genesis 3:15 promised; that seed would crush or bruise the head of the serpent, which is an ancient Hebrew idiom of having victory over your enemy.

This seed we call our Savior because He is Immanuel, (God with us).  God’s Word was born flesh and blood to show us the Truth and the Way to eternal life.  This spiritual life save us from the curse of death, (separation from the Spirit of God).

The Way Y’shuah taught includes being humble which really offends the proud.   He exposed the religious leaders as hate-filled hypocrites, white washed tombs, spiritually dead on the inside, play actors.  He even told them their father was the devil, John 8:44.

His death and resurrection gave us proof and hope in the real life, spiritual life, which is eternal life.

God has written eternity on our hearts, our inner most being or mind.  You can call it gut instinct, or intuition but we all have a conscience and know what is right and pure and true.   The apostle Paul tells us, no man has an excuse, God has made Himself evident in creation, Romans 1:19,20.

Acknowledging there’s a Creator doesn’t take much faith when you see the unfathomable size and order of the universe or the invisible complexity of our DNA.  Faith Being the only prerequisite to having an instant connection to the unseen Spirit of our Creator seems too simple.

So why is religion still so full of rituals and the heavy burdens just like Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for over 2,000.00 years ago?   How is it possible for mankind to miss the simplicity of the truth?   This Awesome Creator sent His Word, the same Word that spoke us into existence, and in the fullness of time His Word became flesh to redeem, reconcile us from our fallen state.

He showed us The Way to eternal life by His example.  The Way by the way, was a willingness to lay down or yield to our own rebellious way.  Then and only then can we become all that we were created to be.  “Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand, (symbolizing all power and authority) of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

God grants us His grace, (this unmerited gift), through our faith.  This faith is not anything of ourselves.  Ephesians 2:8  (We become spiritually alive by this gift, “born again” only by our faith).  Not because we are good enough to earn it but because we are humble enough to accept it.

Instructions on How To Love

Romans12: 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal,be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Everything Jesus taught was opposite of our own way.   The humanly impossible way where you have to walk in faith because you finally admit you can’t love the unlovable.  I was getting more and more frustrated each time it seemed like I had to keep trying and I had more opportunities than I could bear but my frustration is what finally gave me the energy to get angry.  God knows me better than I know myself, since I decided to devote myself to obeying this command I found that I was suppressing my anger because I believed it was evil.  The only anger I’d experienced was the full vent, the rage, wrath kind of anger.  God warned Caine that sin was crouching at his door when he was angry and Jesus said “be angry but do not sin”.  There is an energy that comes with anger but I never considered my choice of using it to propel me out of indifference and into a place with God that brought me to tears as I realized His presence met me there , in the most broken, humble and needy place, the place I fought so hard to stay far away from.

Fear and It’s Effect on Our Ability to Love

The emotion of fear can bring us to a place in our inner most being, the place accompanied by tears when the Holy Spirit gets through.  I can recall one of the first really traumatic incidences from my childhood.   How little I understand about pain, suffering and death.  How strange that I’d tried to avoid tears my entire life, pretending like I was in control when really I’d learned to numb myself to love.

We all have stories of emotional trauma.  One particular painful loss that haunted me most of my life.  It involved a cat not a person and I realize some people don’t understand how humans can love an animal with their “whole heart.”  I’m guessing it’s because animals seem safer to love sometimes than people.

I was about eight years old when our neighbors German Shepard dog cornered our de-clawed kitty, Shadow.   I stood paralyzed at first, just watching the dog shake her furiously in a death grip between his jaws.  Within seconds I was screaming and beating him with my fists but nothing I did even fazed him.  I heard later that the whole neighborhood heard me screaming hysterically at the top of my lungs like someone was killing me.  It seemed like forever before the dogs owner found a bamboo pole and hit the dog over the head.  By the time he dropped her she was in pieces lying there just looking up at me like she didn’t know why I was screaming.  Someone gathered her up in a box for me while I continued screaming at the top of my lungs.  Back inside my house I was inconsolably stuck on full throttle as I looked helplessly at the irreparable damage.  My mom gave me a sedative so I could sleep that night and the next morning I got the news that she had died at the veterinarians.  I still remember how it felt to be numb.  No more tears, no realization that I was angry, this was raw pain, fragile and emotionless.  I couldn’t speak and I could barely move for fear that I might shatter.

All that to say, fear of pain and suffering is human and most of us think it’s to be avoided it at all costs.  I’m suggesting that apathy and indifference is a coping mechanism for the fear of facing emotions that are bigger than we are.  Fear is what keeps us from understanding and trusting  a God that is bigger than we are.

No one gets out of this life unscathed, it’s common to all men;   “No temptation  has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted  beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,  he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13.
As unique as our own traumas are we all have pain and suffering in common.  This is no coincidence but believe it or not, God’s way is perfect.  We can rebel and complain, disagree and get frustrated but hopefully become angry enough to wake up out of our fog of numbness.  We don’t understand how different God’s thoughts and ways are from our own.  Isaias 55:8  His way is difficult and we want easy.  The touch of His Spirit brings us healing tears of conviction but we don’t want to cry.  He reveals our neediness and we try harder to be self-sufficient.  The God of Justice and Mercy tells us to love and forgive but we choose what seems right in our own eyes.  Everything in us wants to avoid suffering but the way Jesus demonstrated for us was exactly that way.

Only Love is more powerful than death, hate, indifference, or fear.  It brings us healing from our condition of spiritual death.  It overcomes a multitude of sin/offence.  It’s passionate enough to bring us tears of healing and groanings that reach way beyond words.  It comforts us in mourning, in the depth of agony there is a secure peace in trusting God’s Love.  It’s the only thing that never changes and never fails.

This is how Love outshines religion.  Religion is human, Love is God’s supernatural power, love is eternal, there is no fear in love, no insecurity.  Love gives us the “Shalom” kind of peace, even in the midst of chaos.   Love counts others as more significant than self.   Love blesses those who curse them and loves even their enemies.  Love is helping the foreigner in our land, taking care of widows and orphans, the poor and needy, Love is God.  1 John 4:8 He defies adequate translation but those who seek Him do find Him<3

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