Michael McKendricks – writer, theologian, web developer and waffle, bacon and all round food enthusiast

Get on my level!

“Get on my level!”

This is a phrase that is becoming increasingly popular today. In years past, people would say that they would not “stoop to so and so’s level” or would candidly “level with you”. As a gamer, I’m all about levels.

When it comes to God though, we are mostly told that God is on a different level. Some people feel that when it comes to Christianity, the challenge is to get on God’s level (1 Pet. 1:16 “Be holy, because I am holy”).

For people who don’t believe in God, they often believe God to be in a completely different game where levels don’t matter. It would seem, that God is on an unreachable level, so there’s no point in even playing the game.

I believe in a different view.

C.S. Lewis talks about the concept of Jesus being a diver who dives into the deepest waters in order to retrieve us, an invaluable pearl resting in the seabed below. I like this because it illustrates something that we often forget: Jesus got on our level. God did not say “Get on my level.” Instead, he got on ours. We feel that God has his limits though and so we believe that he doesn’t understand some of us, that he is above us. But if we look at Scripture, we see a different story.

In 1 Peter 3:18-20, we read about Jesus going to preach to the dead. Some interpret this to mean that Jesus descended into hell. This is often not a place we believe God would Go. But Jesus doesn’t leave the cave of 100 trials unexplored on his quest. He goes to the very bottom, he’s been to the lowest of the low. I love this because rather than being a God who sits on high and tells us what to do and expects us to work our way to him, he comes to us.

Jesus is on your level, and he says, “Come at me bro.”

Love Part 4: At the End of All Things

1Cor. 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I have walked through this passage to discuss the many aspects of love. In part 1 I talked about the first characteristics of love: patience and kindness. In part 2 I made some observations about love’s selflessness and the fact that it isn’t rude. Part 3 finishes off my commentary on the specific qualities described in 1 Cor. 13. Now, I turn to some things that are not explicitly stated, but are nonetheless important observations about love based on this passage.

Other observations

In all of these things, the one thing that is not said about love is that love is a feeling, an endearment or affinity for someone. Certainly that helps us to love someone, but as strange as it seems, we can still love people we utterly despise by acting toward them as is described in 1 Cor. Love has nothing to do with hugs, or kisses; how good your taste in jewelry is or how much you have in common with another person. It has everything to do with your willingness to be good to someone else even when, or perhaps especially when, they are not doing the same to you. However, in saying all this, I don’t want you to believe that you can withhold affection–affection is very important and helps us to express our love and lets the other person feel it in more than our actions. But affection, is more an outpouring of love. Be loving first.

Being unloving

So to love someone means to do these things, but by contrast, if you do not do these things, then you are being unloving. As much as you care about someone, if you aren’t being patient or kind, being envious or boasting, being selfish, angry, rude and so on, then you are not loving the other person. This too, is a hard pill to swallow. As much as we care for and like someone else, it is still possible to show them that you don’t love them.

Love is not an all or nothing thing–it’s not like being rude to someone once or being irritable means that you hate them or that you don’t love them anymore (often times it is a sign that someone needs a nap or a cookie), but if that irritability is driven by something other than low blood sugar, we should really consider what we can do to be more loving (and should probably eat a cookie too, just in case).

In closing, I wish to charge you to be as loving as you can, and be as easy to love as possible. Make it easy for people to be kind to you, make it as easy as possible for them to tell you the truth, ask for forgiveness and to be forgiven. Beyond that, be as relentless as possible in loving everyone. Don’t be angry or hold grudges, don’t mock other people’s misery. Give as much as you can. Give as much as you can toward the goal of expressing your kindness and believing in other people. Feed them, care for them, help them study, listen to their troubles and do what you can to enable them to overcome obstacles. Let them be the best person they can be and consequently, you will be the most loving persone you can be.