D – ATTRIBUTES OF A CHRISTIAN – 4
So far, the attributes of a Christian have included a hunger for God’s Word and a desire to talk to God in prayer. Another attribute has been being with other Christians as they meet together for we are a family—the family of God. Assembling together is important.
Love is an attribute never to be neglected. In fact to accomplish the above attributes, love would be necessary. Lk.10:27 is a familiar verse to us. How deeply does this “all” sink into our minds, hearts, and consequently our lives. Everything about us, our speech and actions, including our habits, will show how much or how little we love our Lord. Ps.97:10 Some considerations follow.
God loved us first. 1 Jhn.4:10 Paul wanted us to know this love that God has for us that would cause Him to send His Son for our salvation. Eph.3:18,19 The key to our abiding in God and He in us is love for that is what God is. 1 Jhn.4:16 We cannot love God without loving His Son. 1 Jhn.5:1
Perhaps love should be defined. Many definitions are available in the world. Just as many degrees of love can be found. Whether marital, love of family, love of friends, or love of our Lord, the following should be true: “Love is an earnest and anxious desire for an active and beneficial interest in the well-being of one loved.” (Quote – William Evans)
God loves us even when we do not deserve it. Rom.5:8 God doesn’t give us what we want but what we need. Many times man’s love is fickle. This is not true of God’s love. Rom.8:38,39
How can we ever return such a love as that? 1 Jhn.2:5,6 Is it too much to ask when God has given us so much and will continue to do so if we abide in Him. 1 Jhn.5:3 As we realize what His love has done for us, we are caused to have a great desire to walk with our Lord. 2 Cor.5:14,15 We are not forced. It is our choice, but our love for Him compels us to go all the way with Him. 1 Jhn.2:6
Is this love of God going to be a recognizable attribute of a Christian? What will the world see in us? This lesson began with the greatest commandment. The second greatest commandment is and your neighbor as yourself. This is what the world will see and experience through us.
The attitude and actions of the world are far different in many circumstances of life. One difference is in dealing with relationships. Those of the world have a tendency to hate someone who has wronged them. The Christian attribute is opposite. 1 Jhn.2:9,11 The one in darkness looses a sense of right and wrong. Ill-feeling and even vengeance becomes an issue to satisfy self. Rom.12:19 We were also once in darkness. Tit.3:3 We are different now and should realize their predicament and pray seriously for them. Lk.6:28 We were unlovely when Christ died for us and yet He loved us. Can our love be large enough to engulf the unlovely? This attribute will show the world a difference.
So what is the source of this love that we need to exemplify? 1 Jhn.4:7,8 We cannot obtain this love on our own. 1 Jhn.4:19 As we became a Christian, we received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Love is part of that gift. Gal.5:22; Rom.5:5
Love of one another as the family of God is important to Jesus. Jhn.13:34,35; 2 Jhn.5 John reasons in this fashion. 1 Jhn.3:10 A Christian is known if he obeys the commandments of the Lord; but he is also known if he loves his brother. We see our brother but we don’t “see” God. If we say we love God, we lie. 1 Jhn.4:20,21 We have no option. We “must” love our brother. (vs.21)
A description of this love is given in Rom.13:10. Paul relays the importance of love to the Corinthians. If we think we are good or important for any reason and don’t have love, we are absolutely nothing. Then Paul continues with another description of this love Christians are to possess toward their fellowman. 1 Cor.13:4-7
- Patient – 2 Cor.6:6
- Kind – Eph.4:32
- No Jealousy – Gal.5:26
- Doesn’t Brag – Gal.6:3
- Not proud – Rom.12:16
- Not unbecoming for a Christian – (rude), 1 Cor.10:24
- Beareth all things – Rom.15:1; Col.3:13
- Believeth all things – Rom.3:22; Heb. 11:6
- Hopeth all things – Rom.5:5
- Endureth all things – 2 Tim.2:3
Taken from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson:
Love never gives up, love cares more for others than for self, love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have, love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always,, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
A sincere love (Rom.12:9) is the fulfillment of the royal law. Jam.2:8 Love binds the other virtues together and therefore is above the rest. Col.3:14 Without love it would be improbable that the other virtues would be accomplished. God has loved us, so let us love our brother, as well. 1 Jhn.4:11