1 Corinthians 13:4-9
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…..
I John 4:8
……because God is love……….
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
The above four pericopes of the Bible with the exception of maybe some prophetic beauty in Isaiah are by far my favorite. I love these pericopes so much because I believe that they reveal the essence of what Jesus wants us to know. They describe what love is like. They alert us to the fact that love is God’s most prominent attribute; and they reveal to us that Jesus is a unique and divine person who can heal us and help us to become what we are destined to be.
Conspicuously absent from these verses is a lot of the in or out judgment that one may find in other parts of the Bible. For instance almost the entire epistle of Jude discusses the horrific fate of so called false prophets. After almost 20 years of following God I am positive that some of the horror stories and judgment fests found in the Bible either aren’t intended to be in there or should be ignored. So I wanted to share 10 pieces of advice for reading the Bible and keeping your love and thoughts in tact while doing so.
1. Always remember that if God does not sound loving in the scripture, then you need to pray for understanding of that scripture and just ignore that scripture’s ideas of God until God reveals an understanding consistent with love to you.
2. If you see judgment, realize that it is of the sinful nature and not of the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus the Lord of all is not exempt from this. For instance I would strongly suggest that you not try to imitate Jesus when he said to the pharisees in John that they were of their father the devil. This was a judgment and is not to be emulated.
3. Ask for God’s guidance before you read the bible.
4. Try not to ever use any thing in the bible as a means by which to condemn, label, scrutinize, criticize, or find fault with another human being.
5. Realize that the writers of the Bible were inspired and anointed but that they fallibly went in and out of truth just like any other prophetic person.
6. Remember the verse from 1 Corinthians 13 that states that we really only know in part and see as through a glass darkly while we are in this earthly realm, and so we most likely will never know it all.
7. Try and memorize those parts of scripture that really heal your soul and help you to love yourself and others.
8. See the Bible as a window to God’s truth that has to be cleaned once in a while by the insight that God directly shares with you.
9. If you feel the bible bringing you into a state of the sinful nature like anger, rage, hate, fear, malice, jealousy, judgment, or lust then stop reading for a while and pray until you can resume.
10. Remember that the Bible when read appropriately has the potential to strengthen your spirit to loving emotion, thought, word, and physical action and so it is much more a means to an end than an end in itself.
Happy reading and try to steer clear of eternal damnation and the like
Love Always, Woody.