“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV
Put on love
There is great pressure on the life of the follower of Jesus, as a hostile world presses in, seeking to force conformity in the world system from those who believe. That pressure sometimes shows in the presence of turmoil within the body. Brothers can rail against brothers, and sisters against sisters, as slight differences in faith practice become vast chasms, bringing disunity.
From my observation, I see the institution of the modern local church as stable, despite the world pounding at its doors in opposition. In the church that I attend, we are small and mighty. I recently had the opportunity, though only briefly, to attend a men’s bible study offered by my pastor.
We were men disparate in the surface nature of our lives, but united in that we were all human, and united more still in that we had each called upon the name of the Lord, each a sinner redeemed.
In these perilous times, love is of the greatest importance, as we need to stand united. Reading Colossians chapter three this morning was a welcome reminder of some of the things that are needful in a healthy church. The love present is the most remarkable thing those on the outside see when they examine those who call themselves Christians.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
John 13:34-35 NKJV
The Lord Jesus charged those He would soon leave behind to love one another, for the world they lived in was bereft of love. The world that we live in today is not only bereft of love, but is filled with hate and division, and the presence of any entity filled with people who truly love, stands out in stark contrast, thus having the potential to draw people to the good news of the Gospel.
All the attributes of godly love that should shine forth from the Christian, and indeed the Body of Christ, cannot without the presence of the Holy Spirit. To love in these present times, is to walk in the Spirit, as the evil one is always seeking to sow discord, and one can only resist through the power of God.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Galatians 5:16 NKJV
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
All of these attributes are much needed these days, it is so easy to become defensive, causing one to become a divider within the body. I can tell you the truth, I often remain silent when I know I have been offended, for I do not want to be the one that sows conflict, I find it is better to suffer wrong and preserve the peace.
Brothers and sisters let us put on love, seeking to support each other in our churches. We come to our gatherings from a wide variety of experiences, and face a wide range of daily troubles, that mark us and humble us through the week.
Let us dwell on what it is to love, and what it looks like in practice. May we be people who are quick to show love, and not hate, and willing and able to comfort the afflicted, pray for the suffering, love those who are in dire need of a little love today, fulfilling the emotional, and tangible needs.
“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.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a NKJV
Put on love, my beloved, my darlings! May we stand in stark contrast to a world that has become anything but loving, that those who are hurting, whose hearts are rent and bleeding, are drawn near to hear the loving message of Jesus Christ and be saved.
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