Only fifteen days left in our Lenten observance. This need to write something each night (can’t write in the morning…I leave for work at 6 am), has been good for me. Though, trying to be erudite when you are tired and the sheets beckon is not my definition of fun, more like a refiner’s fire.
I had this thought that I have been mulling over and it seems Google has no reference to anyone saying it before, so maybe it is semi-original, at least I didn’t glom it off someone else. I also checked the phrase in the title, which I wrote later.
Love untested is no love at all.
Anyone can say they love; Peter told Jesus he loved him so much he would die for him. However, a short time later Peter denied Jesus three times.
Some may wonder where was/is God’s love tested. The test is recorded for us in Matthew 26:39.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
We all agree that Jesus offered his life and shed his blood for our redemption. So, using Jesus’ own argument about the life of the heart having as much consequence as our actions when it comes to sin, I would like to turn that around and say when the choice is absolutely made, the act begins, though its culmination may be hours or even days away.
In Gethsemane that night, the choice was made, and blood, the drops of hemorrhagic sweat Jesus poured out during his struggle to bear up under what was coming, was the first fruits of all that was to come, it was the down payment on the act of salvation. The test was passed, and Jesus got up and faced those coming to arrest him.
That question gets asked so often, “Do you love me?” We say yes, but it is in the testing that the truth is known.
It is interesting how things come round again and how everything in life is so connected by only a few degrees of separation. I recently talked again about the statement in the movie Batman Begins: “You are what you do.” That directly applies here and is especially apropos to agape, which is the form of love frequently defined as love in action or love made real by what we do. Agape by its very nature is tested love, because to have it, you must do it. Isn’t that wonderful?
That is why God is the author of agape, the one who defined its meaning in eternity, even before Adam was created and followed Eve down the path to perdition. Love is what you do when you do what God does. The author of sacrifice is the author of love, love defined by sacrificial action.
When Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him, part of that is going into our own Gethsemane as well. We need to be tested, to decide, to sweat blood, if you will. Then having decided, we need to follow through and act on that decision. Yes, we are what we do, I pray what I always do is Godly sacrificial love.
Grace and peace be yours tonight and may God grant you the will to choose rightly, and the fortitude to act upon it. Amen.
What we can do for another is the test of powers; what we can suffer is the test of love. -Brook Foss Westcott