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Sermon #83:Love - The Source of Selflessness (Part 2)

I hope I find you in the best of health, spiritually and physically.

In my previous sermon, I asked the question: WHY DO YOU WANT TO LIVE LONG?

I argued in the sermon that some people live long, in terms of number of years, yet their long lives benefit nobody. I also argued that some people have lived very short lives, but have managed to bring lots of benefits to others in that short time. I might just as well argue that the short lives lived by such people are in reality longer than the long lives lived by some, in terms of value.

I went on to state that a truly rewarding life is one lived in selflessness, not selfishness. Before departing, I asked you a question that goes, “What is the single attribute without which one cannot be selfless?” I hope that you now have the answer to this question.

Let me give you my view. Selflessness is born out of love. Selfless people are driven by love. Nobody could be selfless and lack love. Nobody could lack love and still be selfless. That’s what I believe.

“What is love?” you could be questioning yourself. I am not going to give you what it is, but I will give you its attributes, what it looks and feels like, and from this you are free to coin your own definition. The attributes alone should make you understand what love is.

Here goes: 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 [1 Corinthians 13: 4-7].

You sure need to derive maximum value out of these verses.

What I am going to do now is rewrite these verses, replacing ‘love’ with ‘I’ - for the verses are in reality giving us the attributes of people who are full of love.

I want you to read the following, adapted verses - loud and slow. As you read, always ask yourself the question: "Do I identify with this?" If you identify with them, then nothing could stop you from being selfless. If you do not identify with them, then there is no way you could be selfless.

Here goes: I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud. I am not rude, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs. I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. 

Now to the question: DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH THIS? I am going to arrange the verses in bullets. After reading each bullet, I want you to write down either TRUE or FALSE, depending on your condition. Be honest with yourself; I am not watching!

Let’s go:

I am patient [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am kind [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I do not envy [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I do not boast [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am not proud [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am not rude [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am not self-seeking [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am not easily angered [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I keep no record of wrongs [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I do not delight in evil [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I rejoice with the truth [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I always protect [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I always trust [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I am always hopeful [TRUE OR FALSE?]
I always persevere [TRUE OR FALSE?]

What do your answers tell you? 

If you do not identify with these attributes, I exhort you to take corrective measures, otherwise you would remain irrelevant to society. The world needs people who are led and driven by love – selfless people, not more hate-filled and selfish ones.

“How could I be a loving person?” you could be asking yourself. This is an important question.

When I first read the verses, I asked myself the same question, but as I continued to study my Bible, I came across an important verse. The verse says: "God is love. Whoever lives in God lives in love" [1 John 4:16, NIV].

I also remembered another verse. It says: "Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him'" [John 14:23, NIV]. So I said to myself, “If God is love and He dwells in me, then it means love resides in me. I therefore cannot be selfish, but selfless.”

If you are in God, then you cannot lack love. One cannot get this kind of love by exercising at the gym, meditating, or doing things of that sort. You need God, who is love, to inhabit you. Do you think that Jesus could have had such great love from natural sources or through natural effort? Not at all! People may try to love, but on their own, they miss the real thing. Just go back to the bullets and get a sense of what I am discussing here.

Do you think that it is possible for one to identify with all the attributes given in the bullets without the ‘enablement’ of the Most High?

You need to be selfless if your life is to be worthy. You need a loving heart, because without it you cannot be selfless. God is the only source of genuine and unconditional love.  Actually, God is Himself love.

“What do I do if I lack this love?” you might be querying. Remember this: "Love comes from God" [1 John 4:7]. So you need God. You need to believe in Him. Get yourself to a place at which you will be exposed to the Word of God. It could be a church, prayer group, television, radio and whatever else. What matters is that you get to hear the Word.

If you listen to the Word, God will impart faith into your spirit. Your role is to listen wholeheartedly, attentively. "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" [Romans 10:17-18, NIV].

Once God begins to inhabit you, you will immediately experience true love for yourself. You will also be filled with true love. 

NoteIf you don't dish out the love that God has placed in you, you will be viewed as one without it.