“What the world needs now — is love, sweet love…” was the recurring line in a popular song in the mid-sixties sung by Jackie DeShannon. It was and still is one of my favorite songs from the ‘60s. This YouTube video link of the song captures the innocent hope of the sixties for universal love.
“What the world needs now — is love, sweet love…”
Another favorite song of mine from that era became somewhat of an anthem for the peace movement of the sixties. Sung by the Youngbloods, the chorus of “Get Together” epitomized the search for a unifying love— “Come on people now — smile on your brother — everybody get together — try to love one another right now.”!
A naive hope seemed to die with the close of the decade and the beginning of the “Me Generation” of the ‘70s.
Today seems to be a similar era with a fervent focus on self and a divergent clash of expectations but without innocence or hope. We seem to be polarized and paralyzed as a culture and a nation.
In fact, there’s a whole lot of mud-slinging and name-calling but it’s not just political. It permeates our culture in so many ways. What the world needs now is love with humility. At the very least, some civility.
What the world needs now is love with humility
When you look into the heart of God — who is love (1 John 4:7–8, 16) — the nature of His love is humility. Out of His great love, He gave His Son for the whole world (John 3:16). This is also the nature of God — He gives, He blesses — it’s called grace.
God is love and the nature of His love is humility
Jesus — love personified
Looking at Jesus we see humility. The apostle Paul pointed this out when he exhorted the church in Philippi to be unified through humility towards one another (Philippians 2:1–4).
Then he points them to Jesus as our example —
Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality.
Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross. (Phil 2:5–8 GW)
Jesus is the personification of love
Jesus — the personification of God’s love — said this about Himself —
Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves (Matthew 11:29 GW)
Looking at Jesus we see humility and love personified
We in the American church — including evangelicals — are concerned too often with being right doctrinally and morally.
The focus of teaching and how we are to live the Christian life is too often on upholding moral standards while protecting our rights and freedoms.
Having good moral standards is honorable and the great privilege of living in America is that we enjoy certain rights and freedoms as expressed in the Constitution of the United States.
But with privilege and freedom comes responsibility.
True morality is not based on human goodness but the nature of God and His grace — His kindness and love, as seen in the life of Jesus.
Genuine morality is not based on human goodness but the nature of God
I fear we, the church, are moving faster and faster in the direction of becoming modern-day Pharisees — self-righteous, hypocritical, and lacking in mercy, grace, and humility.
The Jewish leaders who longed for their messiah to come to deliver Israel missed Him when He did come. They condemned Him and found a way of putting Him to death because He didn’t meet their expectations.
They were too caught up in themselves and maintaining their own sense of rightness to see the very Messiah whom they had waited centuries for was Jesus—the humble Messiah.
Are we becoming modern-day Pharisees?
How can this be reversed? If it can’t, we are hopeless. Ah, but a solution does exist. Change comes one life at a time, one heart at a time.
Then, and only then, lasting significant change will take place in our churches, our nation, and our world.
Jesus said, “Come learn of Me…” and called all believers — all true followers — to deny themselves — their selfish ambitions and desires, pride, and self-centeredness—take up their cross — die to themselves, and then follow Him (Matt 16:24).
Change comes one life at a time, one heart at a time
The solution to world peace
Jesus calls people into a simple, intentional, relational, and intimately personal life of discipleship.
When disciples become disciple-makers and people’s lives are changed one at a time, the peace of God extends throughout the world exponentially.
This has always been the Lord’s solution to world peace.
Change starts with you and me
It requires no degree or certificate or special training. It’s a matter of sharing the life we have in Jesus with others — with the same mercy and grace the Lord shows us.
Really — it’s that simple. But, it’s an investment of our life and time in the lives of others. It requires self-discipline and commitment and humility.
Are you ready for a change? Submit yourself to Jesus — the humble personification of love and the Lord of Lords—follow Him.
Are you ready for a change of direction in the world around you?
It starts with you and me.