Sunday, January 20, 2019

Love Gong

Love Gong
January 21, 2019
1 Corinthians 13:2 "If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing."

A gong or a cymbal are not known as solo instruments. They are actually rather offensive on their own. A gong by itself is used to represent an alarm, an alert to something not necessarily positive. Likewise a cymbal is a clashing sound that can be very displeasing to the ear. Both a gong and a cymbal have their uses in a symphony, however. When used in just the right amounts and at the right time, the sound is not a cacophony, but rather an interesting and pleasant accent to the overall theme of music. The Bible uses a gong and a cymbal in an analogy about the Christian faith, saying that having faith without love is like a gong as a solo instrument, completely displeasing.

There is more to it than that, however, but the point was clear that you must have faith, knowing that faith is more akin the the accent piece that is immersed in love. Love, however, is not always clearly defined. Love is an action, not a feeling, when used in the Bible. If you have faith, a cymbal, then you obviously have love, a full symphony. Love is meant to be the action portion of the Christian life, in response to having faith. Faith, as it was used in context, is the belief that something was/is going to happen, faith so strong to move a mountain. When someone needs to have faith, they are believing in a future outcome that is not yet seen. In relation to people in your life, who are having problems, you could have faith in prayer for them, to move that mountain, but the Bible says that is rather offensive, you should have love for that person. When you have love for that person, in the same context, you are patient and kind to them, you are generous to them and selfless, you are forgiving of them and gracious in your actions. All of those words are active words, not passive. While praying in faith isn't necessarily completely passive, the recipient cannot see it in action. The Bible is saying you have to put feet to your faith, but further than you might imagine.

I've seen so many Christians say they have love for a persona or "a certain people group" yet provide none of the actions described in the Bible as required to prove it. Christians are so apt to say they are praying for someone, even apt to tell them they love them, but not very adept in participating in any actions to meet their needs. Love for someone is the meeting of that person's legitimate needs. Pray in faith for them and the mountains that need moved in their lives, and immediately put into action patience and generosity and forgiveness and graciousness for them. While the Bible is clear that faith without love is like a gong, many Christians put a gong to their love too, willing to forgive without helping someone through the difficulty.

Paul was the one to write about faith to move mountains is like a gong; it was better to have love coupled with faith. But James extends it just a little and writes that faith without full-on deeds is dead faith. If you have faith for the Lord to move a mountain in someone's life, and you demonstrate love by being patient and kind to them, forgiving and gracious, yet do nothing to chip away at the base of that mountain then you are a love gong. If you are praying in faith for the Lord to meet a need in someone's life yet make no attempt to meet that need, then you truly don't have love, even if you kind in your words, forgiving and patient. If a loved one is struggling with a problem, you don't just pray for that problem, ask the Lord how He would like you to help. Maybe instead of being a love gong you could grab a pick ax and start at the base of that mountain.  The Bible says if you don't, then you really are nothing.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  James 2, 1 Cor 12 & 13

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