Today I would like to write a post about love. I often am hesitant to write or talk about this topic because I know that I will never really do it justice but I will try anyway. Thankfully God has a lot to say about love so I will use a lot of His words.
I Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
I John 3
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (NKJV)
Now I know that’s a bit of reading but it is very important that you read this because this is where I have truly gained as much of an understanding of love as I can. I cannot truly grasp the love Jesus has for me. A few years ago when I was reading I John I came to understand the importance of love. Before I could have told you what love is and how it should look but I would not have been able to tell you what it looked like from my perspective.
At this point God began working in my heart showing me how to be loving to others…not just the ones I wanted to love. It is not hard for me to sacrifice for my friends but it is a little more difficult to sacrifice for others with whom I am not that close or maybe don’t like or maybe they don’t like me. At any rate I must have love for them.
Well what does this look like? It first is not visible to others because it requires a change of heart. Doing something for another is an extension of what is already inside, if you do not love and do something for someone your motivation is something other than love. A change in the heart is something that can only be done by God. He delights in making such changes and if you ask He will work in you.
This does not always take the face we want to see. Often when we ask God for change he challenges us in that very situation. When I prayed asking God to help me to love others more God confronted me with people I was not very loving towards. This just happened to me the other day, I was asking God to help me to remember to be loving with others and the next day I was put in a situation I had wanted to avoid. God replaced my attitude of displeasure with love.
When we have allowed God to change our hearts to those of love the world is a very different place. We do not have room to complain about others but have a need to encourage and exhort others. We desire to see others grow closer to Christ. For those who are not Christians our heart cries out to God that He would make Himself known to them. We have a desire to reach out to those who once annoyed us. It is a glorious change.
Loving others is not always a happy task, though it is a joyful one. It can be difficult to love those who hate and persecute us but we must. How can we hate when our very salvation is based on Christ’s love for those who once hated Him? There is no room for hate even for those who intend to do us great harm.
Another area where love is not always easy is when we may be angry about something, We must not act out in anger but in love. Think of an example of a parent; they may be angry that their children are fighting but they cannot correct this issue by acting out in anger. This takes more work to do but we must reflect how God, Our Father, acts with us.
Love should shine through in all our actions. We must let God shine through us so that people no longer see me or you but God’s love. We must go singing of His love to others so that they too can start living in the Love of Jesus! Go and learn to love others! I pray that God will continue to show me how to do this and I pray the same for you.