Andy Hadley, I am with you.
Last night I was on Facebook and I happened to stumble upon Andy Hadley’s Facebook main page. For those who may not know Andy, he is the son of Cary and Lori Hadley. If you do not know Cary and Lori, Andy is a kid from Florida. He stated on his Facebook page that he was struggling with L-1 and L-2.
L-1, L-2. Is it in you? For the 13,000+ people that were in Gatlinburg last weekend you know exactly what I am talking about. If you didn’t, this might as well be some sort of coded message. A secret message for those “in the know.”
Last weekend Gatlinburg was invaded by thousands of Christians who were attending the annual youth rally known as Winterfest. Since it first began, I have only missed a couple of the rallies, and I always look forward to the event. It is the one weekend of the year that I can hear some great lessons and to see so many friends that are in ministry. And this year did not disappoint. We even got a couple of inches of snow to complete the event!
L one, L two… what is it? To put it quite simply, it means love God (L 1) and love others (L 2). Jesus was challenged by an expert of the law by a simple, but very profound question, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus responded by saying, "The most important one," answered Jesus, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (NIV, Mark 12:28-30) This is L-1 love. The second is like unto it. “Love others like you love yourself.” This is L-2 love.
Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. These concepts are very difficult to understand and even harder to do. Of course, some may argue with me on this point, but I assure you I am right on this one. As Christians we might THINK we are all about L-1 and L-2 love, but when you sit down and really think about it, we struggle with both. And Jeff Walling did a masterful job explaining it to the masses.
Our love for God (vertical) and our love for others (horizontal) should intersect in our lives. However, this intersecting point is also the point of conflict between our spiritual self and our worldly self. And it is this conflict that we have to deal with everyday. For some, they are all about their L-1 relationship with God and they can quote book, chapter, and verse and have all of their ducks in a row but lack in their L-2 love for others. For others, they are all about their L-2 relationships with others and show love and concern for those around them but might lack L-1 love for God.
Our trip to Honduras has L-2 written all over it. Helping others who are less fortunate. Providing the needs of those who do not have… living out the words of Matthew 25. Loving others as ourselves is a driving force of our trip. But what about L-1? Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength? Is our relationship with God growing because of the love we are showing to the people of Honduras? Does our love for the Hondurans grow because of our love for God?
It is easy for us to focus one or the other. Sometimes people go on a Torch Mission trip so that they can grow closer to God. Sometimes a person might go on a trip to apply what they have learned about God (James says to show your faith by what you do, right?). But doing both is what we want to accomplish on our trips.
And to be honest, trips like ours to Honduras make it easier to experience L-1 and L-2 at the same time. For a short period of time we put ourselves into an environment that allows us to focus on our relation with God. Morning and evening devotionals. Singing. Praying. Journals. All of these things help us focus on the Creator. Media fast. No TV. No newspapers. No news. This helps keep distractions from creeping in during the trip. Work projects. Service projects. Visitation. Bible studies. VBS. These allow us to demonstrate our L-2 for others day in and day out.
The problem with Torch Missions trips, and others like it, is the fact that the opportunities on the trips are short lived. We leave our hectic, busy, fast paced lives and routines for a week or two of “heavenly bliss.” We are focused on what is important and eternal. We pour ourselves into what we are doing and even the bumps in the road that we have to work through seem small compared to the greater good being accomplished. But eventually we have to go home.
You see, Satan is perfectly cool with you going on this trip. He is even OK with all of the devotionals and good deeds that you do. He is fine with the singing and prayers and journals and “where did you see Jesus today?” Why? The answer is obvious. Satan knows that you will eventually go home. He knows it is just a short period of time and he will have you back in his backyard. Back home you will have to deal with clients, patients, classmates and next door neighbors. You will have to deal with bills and schedules and meetings. You will have to put up with annoying phone calls, undercooked pizza and burnt toast. You will be put to test. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Where will the L-1 and the L-2 be where it really matters???
Torch Missions provides meaningful opportunities for L-1 and L-2 to intersect. But it is up to each individual to apply the L-1 and L-2 to the everyday walk to make a real difference in who we are and how we impact others. It is only when L-1 and L-2 become real in our lives that Satan will worry. That is not part of his plan and that would truly mess up his day. Wouldn’t that be something, us messing up Satan instead of the other way around...? L-1 and L-2, is it in you?