Thursday, March 24, 2011



If we have a deep, sincere love, all of the attributes to “put on” that we have studied will be more easily accomplished.  Love caps it all.  1 Cor. 13:13  We might ask the question, “How is your love life?”  We are not talking about the emotional love life and commitment between a man and a woman.  We want to consider the two greatest commandments found in Lk. 10:27.  Luke states them in one verse.  If we take this commandment seriously, and we should by all means take every commandment seriously, we may feel the need of some important makeovers in our spirit.

Let’s take the love of God first.  We are to love our Maker in four ways.  All our heart would include strong emotion and fervency with sincerity and strong devotion and commitment.  This is the first way that love is mentioned.  This is a love that is intense and also active.   2 Thess. 3:5  Paul wanted this kind of love to be in the heart of these people.  1 Jhn. 5:1  Our love cannot be divided.  God must be everything to us.  Ps. 103:1  This entire psalm reminds us of what God has done for us.  Why would we not love Him?  If the love of God is truly perfected in us, then we will keep His commands.  1 Jhn. 2:5  It has been said that love is the oil for the wheel of obedience. 

We are to love God with all our soul.  Gen. 2:7  Our soul is our life.  It includes the seat of our emotions and personality.  This differentiates us from an animal.  Mk. 8:36  We love God more than life itself.  We have martyrs and missionaries that have given up their lives.  This isn’t all.  We go on living but we give up those desires that we might have since we know they would not glorify God or that they would not please Him.  Do we ever give up something we want in order to help our children?  We love them so it is a natural response.  Our natural Christian response should be a willingness to give up absolutely anything that would deny the will of the One who died for us.  Matt. 10:37  God has given each of us talents and abilities to be used for God’s glory.  If they are buried, we are ungrateful.  We must use and develop gifts and personality to glorify God because we love Him so much.

Next, we are to love God with all our strength.  Serving the Lord takes energy.  Sometimes we would rather stay in our comfort zone than get out and go to services to encourage and build others up.  Heb. 10:24,25  When we do this for others, we are actually doing the same for ourselves.  We get out with other Christians and begin thinking about someone else besides ourselves.  Then we feel better.   Heb. 12:3; 
2 Thess. 3:13;  Gal. 6:9  It takes energy to get out of our homes and visit those in sickness or sorrow.  There are so many tasks that need to be done around the church building.  Transportation needs are always present.  Part of our loving God is using our strength for His glory.

We are to love God with all our mind.  We want to grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  2 Tim. 2:15  This is not just used for our own spiritual benefit, but also to the benefit of those that need answers.  1 Pet. 3:15  The more we know about God the more we will know Him, come closer to Him, and love Him more and more.  1 Kgs. 4:29  Solomon was known as the wisest man on earth.  His wisdom was a gift of God.  Later in life he did not use his wisdom well.  Job 28:28  God is the giver of understanding also.  Ps.111:10  Wisdom and understanding go together but notice how obedience is tied to both as well.  1 Cor. 1:24,25  The world thinks it has wisdom and understanding.  It cannot be trusted.  We desire the wisdom that leads us to a life with Christ.  Jam. 3:17  This wisdom is defined for us.  It is in this wisdom that we want to grow.

1 Jhn. 5:1  If we love God, we also love Christ.  This love is not just saying we love Christ.  The love of Christ changes us.  2 Cor. 5:14,15  It compels or makes us do those things pleasing in His sight.  It constrains us from those things displeasing to Him.  Our love for Christ controls us in that we no longer live for ourselves but for the Lord.

Now we want to see how this love of Christ will affect our relationship with others.  This involves the second greatest commandment.  Matt. 22:39  Our attitude toward others shows our true love of Christ.  Jhn. 13:34,35  We do not realize the impact we have on the world that reflects on our Lord, His church, and even other Christians.  We all have a tendency to base our impression of someone or some group by one incident.  People do this with Christians and the Lord’s church.  The testimony of our attitudes, words, and deeds may be good until….We fail our Lord so many times. 

This love is not for just those that love us.  Lk. 6:32-36  (one verse per reader)  Sometimes this is not easy to do.  Do we love Christ?  Are we committed to glorify and obey Him?  Then this we must do.  We see faults in others; someone “bugs” us; we get so provoked at the way we are treated by another; a family member is not fair or dislikes us; someone hurts our feelings.  If we have love, then we forgive, forbear, put up with.  How big is the problem in comparison to the big picture as God sees it.  We get so picky.  This type of attitude not only destroys our spiritual life but it discourages others.  Consider Prov. 10:12;  1 Pet. 4:8  What does this mean?  We pass over their treatment of whatever it is that “bugs” us because we love them.  We may say, “Yes, but that’s a sin.”  Really?  Is it your call or God’s call?  Maybe it is a mistake or weakness on their part.  Some forget.  Others loose.  Maybe some others break or spill.  Some have a loose tongue.  Others miss service after service.  Let’s love them, not discourage them.  What do we do that may discourage others.  Our attitudes show to other Christians and the world as well.  We may think we hide it, but we can’t and be sincere.  Rom. 12:9; 1 Pet. 1:22  We deceive ourselves.  It affects our relationship with them.  Every time we listen to conversation, that “bug” comes to our mind.  It is definitely a spirit destroyer.

This attitude spills over when we see a job someone else was supposed to do and it is not done.  Maybe we can offer help or quietly do it without complaint.  1 Thess. 1:3  This meshes with our study of loving God with our strength.  Whatever we do, we are doing for the Lord and He will remember.  Col. 3:23; Heb. 6:10  God created us to do good works.  Eph. 2:10  Praise the Lord if we have the strength and ability to do it.

Another way in which we can show our love to others is by reaching out to those who may feel alone.  These people may feel they are not loved.  They may be discouraged and in a spiritual valley.  As Christians we can spread the joy of Christ to them in many ways.  Maybe they need someone to read the Bible to them to remind them of God’s love.  They may just need a listening ear to which they may vent their feelings and frustration—in privacy.   We do want to be ready with Scripture to help them.

If we have feelings such as the above, we must realize that we are to reach out to others as they are to reach out to us.  It is so easy to get into the mood of a “pity-party” and think about ourselves to the extent that we forget about others and what I can do for them.  That is the best way to get out of a “pity-party.” Also count the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.

The Scripture is very specific about our loving our brother.  1 Jhn. 4:20,21  We can say that we don’t “hate” a certain person but in the Greek this word hate means “love less.”  We are without excuse.  We must conquer our ill feelings toward all.  God will simply not accept our love for Him if we do not show our love for our brothers and neighbors.  We could show many Scriptures regarding love toward all.  Read 1 John with open eyes and heart to address this problem.  Sometimes we wonder why we don’t grow.  Could it be our “love life?”  1 Thess. 5:8  The breastplate of  love protects us from many sins of attitude and disposition that occur in our lives. 

Love is listed first in the fruit of the spirit.  Gal. 5:22  We are told to bear much fruit to be Christ’s disciples.  Jhn. 15:8  Without love there is no joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  As love is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,  we can have hope.  Rom. 5:5 

So how is our love-life?  Can we follow our Lord in His example and commandment of love?  If we are weak spiritually, have we short-changed our love for God and our fellow man whether in our home, the church or wherever we go.  Love brings strength.  If we love God, we will hunger and thirst aft righteousness which in turn will cause our relationships with others to grow with love. 

May we gain in spiritual strength and faithfulness to the glory of our Lord as we strive to allow love to grow in every aspect of our lives.  1 Cor. 16:14


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