I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
Do everything in love. Everything. Not a single attitude and action produced outside of love. Not just any love, but the Love of God given to us. We have an example. Oh, what an example. Jesus chose to love the completely unlovable in every possible way even through insult and injury. Grace was applied. Can we really love that way? In our imperfect, yet to be redeemed state, can believers truly live a life of true love? If this were the case, God’s People would no longer be offended by any other person and live in perfect harmony.
Yesterday, in Sunday school, talking about this kind of love, it was mentioned that our approach as Christians may be lacking a bit. We want to love others and bring them to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, doing so from a threat or condemnation is not working for some reason. Perhaps, it is because that is not how the Lord approached our heart. It is His Love that draws us close to Jesus. We come to Him in desperation and disappointment as the void in our heart begins to suck the life out of us. The need for love too great to continue without a source. So we come to Jesus, now our perspective of love is different. No longer what can you do for me, but how can I love and serve others. Or at least, this is how it should be. Growth and maturity in Christ produces a new kind of love in us that comes from a satisfied heart.
John 13:33-35 (NLT)
Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
In the hours preceding His Final Steps to the Cross, Jesus commandment to love intensified. Up to this point, followers were instructed to love one another and love your neighbor as yourself. Now Jesus tells them to love each other just as I have loved you. Soon these people would understand the true potential and purpose of God’s Love for them as His Only Son would dying a horrible death so God’s Love could reach all mankind. The Lord goes on to tell them that your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
“I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” (2 John 5-6) To love one another is not a new commandment. It is not impossible. It is a lifelong mission that begins by surrendering “all (our) heart, all (our) soul, and all (our) mind” to Christ. To do so allows God to change our perception of love in our heart, soul and mind. All three must be impacted by the meaning of true love and the capacity of God’s Love in order to approach the world and every one in it through God’s Love.
I Corinthians 13:4-7; 13 (NLT)
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. It is boastful or proud. It is not rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable. It keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice. It rejoices when truth wins. Love never gives up. Love never loses faith. Love is always hopeful. It endures through EVERY circumstance. Love is the greatest of faith, hope and love. Why? Without love, our faith is pointless and we will have no perspective of hope. Our life must be lived in love to truly grow in the knowledge and understanding of our Lord who commands us to approach everyone in love. What does this mean? This would mean that when cut off in traffic, one might wave with their whole hand instead of one finger. Or when someone rushes before you in the line at Walmart and three more relatives bring twenty more things, it would be an opportunity to smile and say, “No problem” rather creating a huge scene. When a coworker frustrates you with their actions, you pray for them and try to assist them to accomplish the tasks that are holding you back. There are so many ways to love others. We try to make it about one gesture when the Lord tell us to lay down our life for them. We must make time to do that which we do not want to, feel like or care to do. We must come to others with a genuine love and consideration for their feelings and needs above our own. Such a lifestyle crucifies our flesh and does not allow for my feelings, my wants, my desires, my agenda, my schedule, or even my priorities above a single person who I encounter.
What might happen if we were patient with everyone? What if we did not become jealous over their unfair favor but rather gloried with them? What if our pride was nonexistent allowing others to go before us in all things? What if we did not demand our own way with others or God? What if we stopped being irritable in the trials and testings of life? What if we kept no record of wrong? Forgiving everyone instantly or better yet not being offended in the first place. Love covers a multitude of sins. What if love bore all things regardless of what comes? What if it believed that God loved all people looking for the best in each one? What if love hoped in all things remaining steadfast during difficult times? What if our love for others remained strong without weakening? What if? Revival would come. I believe hearts, minds and souls would flock to this infectious kind of love. Lives would be changed. Signs, wonders and miracles would fill the House of God again because someone dared to approach others in love rather than demanding temporary satisfaction and waiting on His Perfect Love to make them complete lacking no good thing.
Colossians 3:13-15 (NLT)
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Love wins. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Are we convinced? The love of others should never impact our intent to love the world like Jesus or it exposes a void in our connection to Christ. His Perfect Love binds us together in unity when Christ rules our heart. To be so confident of God’s Love means that nothing can separate us from Him. Nothing. People have no impact on God’s Love for us but are the purpose that we are here. To share His Love with all His Creation until He comes. You will not give away anything without faith that God will supply all your needs. To love others unconditionally is to accept His Unconditional Love fully. It changes our approach to others because our first priority is that they know love. His Love through us. It means biting our tongue. Praying about our problems and how to address them. Love does not take what it wants but gives what it desires. Do you want more love in your life? Give love.
I John 4:17-19 (NLT)
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.
Love changes us. The Love of God given to us through Christ Jesus should change our mind, soul and heart about love. It will impact our attitude and actions towards others as He changes our perspective of love altogether. It comes with a warning, too. Love is made complete among us is confidence on the Day of Judgment. Christ will not be enough if He does not satisfy our heart and soul with His Love. He is doing His Part. If we need love from others and cannot love them without affection, affirmation and approval, then our Love in Christ is incomplete. His Love is perfect. It casts out all fear that we are loved and must care for ourselves. He cares for us. We love because He first loved us. Love is not what I can get from anyone else but rather an extension of the Love of God for me. We love simply because He first loved us. Not just any kind of love, patient love, kind love, forgiving love, committed love, love in action, unconditional and neverending love. We were approached in love so we must approach others the same way. Is my love growing more perfect?
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Love is cerebral not biological. We must think about love and meditate on it. We must search the Word of God and speak directly to the Lord to find proper motivation of His Love through us. His Love is not natural but supernatural. It allows for multiple offenses but does not allow for us to become offended. It completely dispels the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” take on love to what can I do for you? It means I love others no matter what they do for me, say to me or think of me. It means that I will always make my primary motivation in life to share the Love of God spreading His Light in the darkness all around us. Sin does not allow for love to fill our heart. It is in the remission of sin that we find true love.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13) Could it be that by choosing to love that we are set free indeed? When all of our hope and expectation is in Jesus Christ, we are free to love unconditionally accepting only what others can give rather than putting them in a position of fulfillment which their imperfect state makes them incapable of doing. There is such freedom in loving without expectation. It allows intimacy that returns love we never knew existed as God’s Love overflows through us to the waiting world. I want to love like that. It requires a daily choice to put my needs, wants and desires into the capable Hands of Christ in exchange for His Love to share with others. Will I do it? Will I approach the world in love today? It is a conscious choice that will yield eternal rewards to those who try just a little harder to love even the most unlovable. Love is service. Love is laying down our life for others consistently and completely day by day expecting nothing in return. No wonder it takes a lifetime.
I Thessalonians 3:12-13 (NLT)
And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.