What's Love Got To Do With It?

Aloneness = the condition of a person who is unloved, unknown, unwanted; having no intimate relationships
Intimacy = antidote for aloneness; to know and be known, to love and be loved; to live in connected relationships
 
Several years ago I heard a report on the radio about a study that had been completed where those surveyed were asked if they felt their life had been successful.  Only 3 out of 100 declared that they felt their life had been successful.  One of the guys I teach at The Jericho House (a men's addiction recovery environment) asked me point-blank, “Are you one of those 3?” It didn’t take long to answer.  Yes.  I do feel that my life has been successful and meaningful.  My life is not perfect, nor are all my relationships as close as I wish they were, but I am a happy man and feel loved and cherished by family and friends.  I love Jesus and He loves me.  In my book, that is success.
But now that I am about to reach my 69thbirthday, there are just a few really important nuggets I would like to pass along for those who may be interested in finishing this life with abundance rather than classifying life as awful, average, or unsuccessful.  
Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group of men in the Los Angeles, California area.  We spoke and discussed legacy.  I was profoundly moved to realize we are always leaving a legacy to those behind us and living the legacy handed down to us.  We may have to make adjustments along the way to the legacy we received, so that we don’t poison the legacy we leave behind.  We determined together that we want to leave a legacy of love….God’s love, so that the world will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.
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If we want to leave a new legacy, a better legacy, a legacy of God’s love, then these seem to be simple but profoundly powerful ways to do just that.
#1.  Spend time each day listening to Jesus, praying, listening, being quiet enough to hear the voice of God.  As a wise pastor-friend of mine in Memphis often declared, “God made us in such a way that He could speak to us.”  It is called fellowship with God or prayer.
#2.  Do the Word of God often.  Experience His truth because His truth will set you free.  Free to what?  Free to love, that’s what!
#3.  Enjoy being vulnerably connected to others ;particularly, those who follow Jesus as you do.  This is called fellowship.  You can have deep friendships on the way to developing fellowship.
#1.  Encounter Jesus
Did you know that even Jesus Christ needed time with His Father.  He needed fellowship.  Christ’s time here on this planet was not an easy period.  He was misunderstood by His siblings, rejected by the religious crowd, abandoned by His disciples, and left alone to hang on a cross suffering for sins He didn’t commit.  This Jesus deserves to be heard, to be loved, to be thanked, and to be obeyed.  What’s love got to do with it?  Everything.  Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again because He loves you and He loves me. That love is what He produces in His followers.
#2.  Do the Word of God.  
In fact, every move we make proves that God’s Word is true.  When we disobey and go the opposite way we prove He was right about the consequences of sin and rebellion.  When we submit to God and do His Word, we experience just how powerful, wise, and loving He is.  Tina Turner, a famous female vocalist of the 70’s and 80’s, took the song “What’s Love Got To Do With It”to the top of the music charts in 1984-1985.  Her song made that question famous.  Just a cursory exposure to the song or her life’s story lets you know that she was not fully aware of or didn’t know how to have a relationship with God’s love at its core.  In fact, I am sad to say, the life she lived illustrate what a watered-down version of love produces.  She had stardom and fame and wealth, but her life was riddled by turmoil, pain, sadness, and broken relationships.  God has better plans for you.  He had better plans for her.  Can you see why our living loved and giving love freely …starting at home is so critical? What if Tina Turner had people in her life who could have illustrated clearly, powerfully what God’s love is all about.  Now I know that wouldn’t guarantee a different outcome for her, but perhaps she’d have chosen more wisely even in the face of the fake love and shallow life that stardom offered.
#3.  Enjoy real fellowship and friendships with others. 
We are not built to be alone in this life.  So, in your friendships, family, work relationships, and in your neighborhood seek out authentic relationships.  Single or married start in your closest relationships with family and friends after you make sure you have received the love that God offers you.   Let your relationships with others be bridges across which God’s love can flow.  Put some prayer and thought into the legacy you received and the legacy you are leaving. Your life is too precious to live any other way but abundantly. Others desperately need to know “what love has to do with it?”  You and I are discovering the answer - Everything! Let's live to show the truth of Christ's loving, passionate plea, "Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
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