Love and Lust Have Different Agendas by Rick Burdette
1 Corinthians 13:1-13:8
Love Like You Mean It – Love and Lust Have Different Agendas
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (pg. 800) February 21, 2016
Proverbs 4:23 is a scripture we should absolutely commit to memory…even more than that, we should embed it in our souls…
“Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.”
It’s the truth isn’t it…Our hearts are the springboard for the way we think…the way we speak…the way we act.
When the writers of the Old Testament, like Solomon use the word heart…they’re not talking about that muscle in our chest that pumps blood…they use the word “Leb.” It’s been defined as “the seat of a person’s emotional and intellectual life.” The three functions that each Hebrew understand, came from the “Leb” are “What we know, what we feel, and what we will.”
It’s exactly what Jesus says in the greatest commandment… “to love God with all your heart, soul and mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
Real love involves what we think…what we feel and what we do…All of which flow from our hearts.
You can’t produce good fruit from a bad tree or vice versa…you can’t pump clean water from a stagnant pond.
And each of us have two powerful forces battling to own it…and each and every one of us surrender to one or the other of these forces…both have completely different agendas.
Miriam Webster defines “agenda” as “a plan or goal that drives someone’s behavior that is often kept secret.”
God doesn’t keep His plan or goal a secret…it’s been revealed in His Word… “God isn’t willing that anyone should perish but all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) God so loves the world that He gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Satan’s agenda is also revealed in God’s Word, but he keeps it a secret when he seeks our heart. “He’s a thief, a murderer, and a liar from the beginning.” (John 8:44, 10:10)
He comes to steal, kill and destroy.
God is love…it’s the motivation for why He seeks our hearts…like a Father seeks a lost child…Satan is the Evil One, he operates from “wrath, hatred…and Rev. 12 tells us his goal is to lead the whole world astray…He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short. (Rev. 12:9, 12). God uses His great love…The Adversary uses lust…both have a plan…and both have completely different agendas.
God loves like he means it…and Satan hates like he means it.
Let’s look at what that means when it comes to the ownership of our hearts.
I. LUST PUTS SELF FIRST…LOVE SACRIFICES FOR OTHERS
Lust isn’t just about sex…lust is about gratifying self…whether it’s pornography or power…lust says, “Meet my needs…I want something or someone…for ME.” Lust manipulates…lust gets angry and fights and quarrels to get its way…it’s the sinful part of everyone of our hearts…our desires that battle within us…God’s Word says, “you desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you don’t ask God when you ask, you do not received because you ask with wrong motives (wrong agendas) that you may spend what you get on YOUR pleasures.
Marriages…in fact any relationship where people’s hearts are fixated on pleasing self first, are identified by fights, quarrels, destruction (killing of others wants and needs).
That’s why many marriages that are built primarily upon physical attraction and sexual desire (all natural and God given) begin to dissolve when there is no real love…Agape, self sacrificing love…a love that can only be built on a self sacrificing God…the God given sexual desires and attractions are smothered with a flood of more powerful emotions…unforgiveness, control and regret…Couples begin to protect their hearts from pain and disappointment…instead of releasing them to love…it’s a satanic agenda…and by all appearances he’s very good at it.
Paul in our text says there’s a far better choice…a much more excellent way to live…The way of love.
The word “I” is used nine times in the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13…but then not used at all through love’s true definition…True love, Christ’s love, cannot exist in the land where “I” reigns supreme. I can speak amazing words…angelic words…I can teach the truth of scripture powerfully…I can even have a deep understanding of its truth. I can have a mountain moving faith in God…I can even sacrifice so I can boast about it…But if I don’t love…it’s about me…and it means nothing…The Message version says “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
Here’s what love looks like:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t’ have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
The only one who has done that perfectly in the flesh is Jesus…He felt the temptation of lust, in every form…but never sinned…He chose love every time. He felt the pull of Satan to choose Himself…and every time He chose me and you. EVERY TIME! All the way to the cross…and because of that His resurrection opened the door for me and you to go to heaven…“Amazing love how can it be? That you my King would die for me?”
II. CHOOSING TO REALLY LOVE IS NEVER EASY OR COMFORTABLE
[I’ve been married to Kari Pascal Burdette for almost 35 years…she is the person I love most here on earth… she is my best friend…But I still struggle with choosing self over her…there are countless times during every day I choose “selfish” things. I watch Law & Order while she does the dishes…I fell frustration when she asks me to do something…and she’s my best friend…the one I love most…What’s wrong with me?!]
A lot, right? But I’ve also discovered an encouraging truth…the same thing that’s wrong with me…is wrong with everyone…like the Apostle Paul I’ve discovered a Romans 7 truth:
ROMANS 7:21-24 (p. 786)
My heart delights in Jesus…My heart is guarded by His truth…but I live in a sinful, selfish, fallen shell. I find a spiritual battle waging within me for control. Good and evil are still choices I struggle with…It’s a war in my mind.
Paul says, “What’s up with that? Who can give me victory…who can give you victory? How can I be rescued from this battle?
He answers those questions in v. 25 “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Let me end today by revealing two very freeing truths about how Jesus delivers us:
1. The eternal war for our souls is won the moment we are born again spiritually.
It’s what Romans 8:1-4 tells us…without question:
ROMANS 8:1-4 (p. 786)
When God convicts and calls you by His Holy Spirit…when you repent of that sin and turn your life over to God. When you are baptized for the forgiveness of that sin and receive the promised gift of His Holy Spirit…You rise to walk in a new life.
The war is over…The condemnation of sin has been transformed to victory through Christ…You are born again…Adopted by God through His Holy Spirit…That Spirit now lives in you and me…our bodies become His dwelling place…His temple. The King and His Kingdom now live in us.
We who used to selfishly live by the flesh and Satan’s constant pull…now have an even greater influence… “God living in us.” Once we were slaves to sin….now we’re sons…and daughters.
But the 2nd freeing truth is…
2. We aren’t perfect children yet.
The spiritual war is won when we become God’s child, but the battle with sin isn’t.
We will still make selfish and sinful choices in our marriages and in our daily lives…there will be times we fail…when we lose a battle in this temporary uniform, some of those injuries will be terrible and deep…but Jesus still gives healing and victory…His love never fails…we overwhelmingly conquer through Christ who loves us. (Romans 8:37-39)
The victory comes because God’s Spirit doesn’t desert us…when we struggle with sin, even fall to it…He’s still there…fighting…listening to Him over our pride isn’t easy…but it’s essential for healing…John writes in his 1st letter these words of truth.
1 JOHN 1:8 – 2:2 (p. 855)
Our marriages, our lives will not be free from sin…we deceive ourselves if we think they will be.
But God isn’t pulling against us…He’s fighting for us…we have an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous one…and He’s fighting for us at the right hand of God…He’s fighting for your marriage at the right hand of God!
Forgiveness and cleansing of guilt are what He accomplished on the cross…and right now for His children…His Spirit is the guardian of our hearts.
[I love this story by an amazing woman I got to meet while working at the 2014 NACC
Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic who was paralyzed in a diving accident as a teenager, talks about her wedding day. She says, “I felt awkward as my girlfriends strained to shift my paralyzed body into a cumbersome wedding gown. No amount of corseting and binding my body gave me a perfect shape. The dress just didn’t fit well. Then, as I was wheeling into the church, I glanced down and noticed that I’d accidentally run over the hem of my dress, leaving a greasy tire mark. My paralyzed hands couldn’t hold the bouquet of daisies that lay off-center on my lap. And my chair, though decorated for the wedding, was still a big, clunky gray machine with belts, gears, and ball bearings. I certainly didn’t feel like the picture-perfect bride in a bridal magazine. I inched my chair closer to the last pew to catch a glimpse of Ken in front. There he was, standing tall and stately in his formal attire. I saw him looking for me, craning his neck to look up the aisle. My face flushed, and I suddenly couldn’t wait to be with him. I had seen my beloved. The love in Ken’s face had washed away all my feelings of unworthiness. I was his pure and perfect bride. How easy it is for us to think that we’re utterly unlovely — especially to someone as lovely as Christ. But he loves us with the bright eyes of a Bridegroom’s love and cannot wait for the day we are united with him forever.”
The writer of Revelation proclaimed: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:2-5).