“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:4-13 NKJV
I read the “Love” chapter this morning. Whenever I read it, I think of those situations when I have found myself showing some kind of love to others, usually those nearest me, and more than likely, those like me. . Mostly often it is under the best of circumstances, when there are no challenges. When I consider the love through Christ, it is loving under the most difficult of times. Jesus love those who reviled Him.
When we consider love, we typically think of the warm fuzzy kind of love, such as when we describe the feeling we have for those we have a fondness. Very often, the people we love are very much like ourselves, sharing the same moral stances, the same political leanings, and there is little conflict. The loving is easy. It is also shallow.
That is not the love of God.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 NKJV
God sent His Son into a hateful world, filled with people whose hearts were crippled by sin, who loved only their own. The world hated Jesus and His message of true love, of the love that came into the world to bring salvation. Even as the world hated Him, He healed, He saved, and He offered the only way to the Father.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
John 15:13 NKJV
The love of Jesus is a transforming love, one that does not simply affirm, but one that aims the heart toward better things. The love of Jesus guides us toward holiness, first saving us from our sins, then raising us from the dead into newness of life.
These days, many look upon love as affirming people in their sin, being allies, supporters of sinful life. This is a deadly love, a true poison that spreads comfortable death. In reality, what they are calling love, is actually hate.
True love cares about the disposition of the souls of others. It often includes telling hard truths that people don’t like, but need to hear.
The things that we deem important in life and faith, the practices that we hold dear, are all meaningless if there is no love. There are so many things we value in church life, like great preaching, teaching, worship music, and fellowship. If we are doing those things without true love, we are wasting time, as there is no truth behind actions. We are doing it because we feel obligated, or worse, in order to get what we want.
Jesus came bringing unconditional love to a flawed creation, caught up in sin, that could do nothing for the Creator of the universe.
When I consider my own love, I know that it is only by the Spirit of God that I can love anyone. The struggles of life, and the effects of the sins of others on my person, made my natural heart stony. The Lord has made it raw, tender, and open. God shows Himself through me, even to those who have attempted to harm me.
I look to Galatians chapter five, when I desire to do self examination. The fruit of the spirit are those characteristics that should be in Christians everyday, especially in times of opposition. It is in the fire of the trial, that the fruit show. It also in the trial, that true love flourishes.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Galatians 5:22-24 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, what the world needs now is love, love love!
Not the fluffy, cotton candy love, but true love. The love of Jesus. Let us go out and share the message of the Gospel, the message of Jesus who came into a dark world, bringing the love of God. Let us tell of His sacrifice, of His going to the cross, offering forgiveness to those who crucified Him.
Let communicate the hard love, the truth that those who do not accept the gift of salvation will go to hell. As God is loving, He is more just. But, let our message be balanced, that the hope of salvation is clearly evident.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NKJV
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV
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