How not to show love. Or: What is it and what shall I do with it? [Cont’d from Pt. 1]
Much as the language is deteriorating and formerly poignant words such as “love” are being changed, stretched shapeless, and lost of meaning, we can regain certitude in the “however.”
The Bible Has not changed.
Only peoples unstable opinions change.
Cultural changing opinion, whether great or slight, has no effect whatsoever on the veracity of the bible’s unchanging overall meaning and message. As it was conveyed to the original messengers and passed on through generations, being reaffirmed by the Giver of all good things.
The case being as stated and confirmed. Biblical love, also, has not altered its meaning. Therefore, I present this passage from the book(epistle)of James for your rumination.
A case for love by exhibition of its opposite.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3) [This is self-love, not self-less love]
James opens this chapter with a rhetorical question. He asks, from where do conflicts and arguments with others originate?
They come from our self-centered lust and desires, stemming from a heart still focused on the world. James is carrying on the same line of reasoning from the previous chapters. Because the self-centered desires and lust to which James is referring, stem from a heart not fully given over to the Lord. From a heart not sensitive to the Holy Spirit, but instead overly influenced by the fallen world in which we live. From a heart attuned to the world-wisdom, which is human centered created by a world which is at enmity against God.
In verse one James first makes it clear that he is speaking to the church when he says, “from among you.” Then he uses the words “war” and “fights.” The word for “wars” is the Greek word “polemos” and the word for “fights” is the Greek word “mache” (makh’-ay).
The word “polemos” is where we get our modern word “polemic” and it means to attack or be in a constant state of war. Always on guard, ready and waiting to make the next attack. And the word “mache” means an individual attack or hand to hand combat against a single person. With these words used together James is painting the picture of church members, each one individually in a constant state of readiness. Ready to attack their fellow brother and sisters in Christ. But why? Why is this happening amongst fellow believers?
James tells us why as he holds up a mirror to our own faces so we can see ourselves. It’s because of our self-centered desires. The Greek word James uses is “hedone” from which we get our modern word “hedonism” which refers to the pursuit of self-indulgence, self-gratification and pleasure. In other words James is confirming what he told us in chapter one. That our sinful desire gives rise to sinful thoughts which give birth to sinful actions and a sinful attitude. And what’s important for us to understand, is James is referring to the end result of those who do not submit to the will of God in most, or many, instances and thought patterns of daily living. Those who are not obedient to God and those who do not follow the advice given by James in the previous chapters.
James is describing the actions of someone who has not fully turned their life over to Jesus. Someone who does not follow the promptings or the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Apparently those who reject or ignore — or have minimum understanding of — the authority and guidance of God’s word. Therefore that person displays the works of a life given over to following the world habits of hypocrisy(the “world” being the institution that breeds and fine-tunes the art of duplicity). A life of relying on the world’s wisdom, which is saturated with the influence of Satan whom the Apostle Paul calls “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians chapter six.
It can be summed up in the questions: Who are we committed to? Who will lead us? Who do we love — above all others? -g.w.
See I Corinthians 13:4-7 ; Galatians 5:19-26. How do those two passages correspond with what James is saying here? -g.w
The Father’s Deep, Abiding Love for us has never, will never, change in meaning toward us. With particular emphasis on we who abide in Christ.