It is not enough to know and experience God’s love for ourselves. Love remains a deep need for every person. It is meant to be shared with others. We are asked by Jesus through the new commandment, to love God AND to love people. Furthermore, our love for God is evident in our love for people.
1 John 4:7-8 MSG “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”
God wants us to imitate and strive to follow His example of love towards our loved ones, strangers, and enemies. The Word states that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. Our neighbor implies all people. It includes the difficult, the different, the weird, the evil, and the good person. What does love for your neighbor practically look like? Jesus explains it best in His parable about the good Samaritan in Luke 10.
Luke 10:36-37 TPT “So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?” The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.” Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”
God does not ask us to LIKE all people, but to LOVE all people. Liking someone is natural and based on things such as appearance, mutual interests, feeling comfortable, and being agreeable. Loving all is choosing the high road, which goes against our flesh and natural reactions towards people. Once we realize the measure of God’s love for us and all people, we are able to give such love, which is not determined by our emotions.
God’s love through us remains an action that is demonstrated through deeds of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and grace, even when we feel that someone does not deserve it. Loving like God is going the extra mile for someone and choosing to see the best in others, despite their behavior towards us. Love for others is a response because of God’s love for all mankind. It is a response of obedience to God’s word and His example.
Matthew 5:44-48 TPT “However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.”
We are called to a higher standard because we are children of God, and we aim to please Him above all else. We have the capacity to do as God desires, because of God’s love within us first, and the enabling power of grace and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of love that flows through us because He resides within us (2 Timothy 1:7). I think that is why the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5, is love. Love is the beginning and love remains to the end.
Ask yourself this question. ”How will anybody know about God or His love, if we as children of God do not show love the way He asks from us?”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT ”Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.”
Let’s use the chapter of love, 1 Corinthians 13, as our inspiration and challenge this week to love others in a Godly way. Let’s see the potential and the image of God within all people. Look past people’s faults or mistakes. Show love, because God shows you His ultimate love, grace, and mercy. Choose forgiveness, mercy, and kindness towards your enemies. Love pushes back all onslaughts of the enemy and drives out all fear. Whenever the devil tempts you to respond with revenge, retaliation, and anger, respond with forgiveness and earnest prayer for your enemies. Behold and see how God will expand your heart for people. May we all grow in Christian love and be a witness for Christ, as we follow His example.
His love is so different and extravagant, how can we not but share it.
Stay resolute my friend.
VERSE IMAGE OF THE WEEK