"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" Mark 12:29-31."Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13."If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love" 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
"Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary" 1 Corinthians 8:1-2.
"We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" 1 John 4:19-21.
How much of the time do we actually... 'practice what we preach?' How does our daily walk... match up with what we say we believe? It is much easier to 'talk the talk' than it is to 'walk the walk.' Knowledge in and of itself is only a tool, it is incapable of imparting LIFE. It requires application... implementation on the part of the hearer to effect change. It is not enough simply to 'know'... if we do not grow from what we have learned. When it comes to learning spiritual realities, we discover that in order to implement them into our lives, the death of self is the chief requirement. "Till not I live, but Christ liveth in me..."; "For in him we live, and move, and have our being."
If we would honestly examine our own hearts, we will have to admit that we are in possession of far more knowledge about God, than we are walking in the Power and Spirit of Christ in us. Hence, if we were to be judged this moment, we would be out of balance as the graphic illustrates; our accumulated knowledge about the things of God outweighing the Christ living in and through us.
We are not going to be rewarded for how much knowledge we possess. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" Galatians 6:7. Our actions speak louder than our words. Our reward will be in direct correlation to our obedience and the surrender of our will to His. It is the "Christ in you" that makes us acceptable to a Holy God, not our adherence to religious rituals, formulas or beliefs. Our duty is to love him that first loved us, and gave himself for us. As the above verses illustrate, LOVE is the deciding factor. As long as we are living according to the ways of the world and our flesh, we are incapable of loving those who despitefully use us; and we love ourselves more than we love God.
It is a sobering thing to consider the ramifications of the following..."But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" Romans 8:9. One must honestly deduct from this passage that if the Spirit of God is indwelling us, we can no longer live according to our fleshly desires and carnal thinking. Our flesh is very adept at convincing us that our carnal desires are in fact the Spirit of God. Jesus told us in John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The two are distinctly separate. They can not be blended any more than oil and water. We are the servants of one or the other. If we are doing what seems right in our own eyes, we are operating from our flesh and not by the Spirit of God, and are in danger of being counted among those who are "none of his."
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2:8.
May we always be reminded..."Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." And continue to "... grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever" 2 Peter 3:18.
Paraphrase of Deuteronomy 32
The Destruction of Passion
Entry To "The City"
To Walk With God