BRRRRR! Good COLD morning!
This week's memory verse:"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
Today's message is meant to be more interactive, or thought provoking on your part. Think about the questions I'm going to pose today...if you don't keep a journal, this might be a good time to start one, or at least take a few minutes to not down a few things today. Journaling isn't everyone's cup of tea, but keeping track of who you want to pray for, action steps you want to take, etc. will help you hold those things in your mind and your heart, and will help you hold yourself more accountable.
Think about the people in your life who are easy to love, those that you show PHILEO (brotherly, affectionate) love to. You might want to make a list of those people. They might be family members, friends or coworkers. Now, think about HOW you show them PHILEO love? In other words, what do you do that lets them know you love them? You may also show these people AGAPE love as well, by giving of yourself to them...putting their needs ahead of your own.
If nothing else, making a list of the people we love reminds us how blessed we are by the people in our lives! My list is a pretty long one!
Now that you have done that, think about the people that God may be trying to get you to love more...those people in your life who are harder to love, or perhaps even like! Those might be the people you NEED to show AGAPE love to. It is easier for us to think about showing AGAPE love to the people on our other list, isn't it?
I truly believe God places people in our lives for reasons. There are people in my life who are there all the time that may annoy me, anger me, upset and frustrate me. I feel God working in me to think of these individuals in a different way. I don't have to like what they do, condone bad behavior they might have, or become best friends with them. BUT, I do feel God moving me to love them more...or to be loving more to them instead of letting my feelings about them lead me to treat them disrespectfully or even hatefully. Remember what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love? All those things love is and isn't? I think THAT is the real lesson from the "love passage." God wants to show that kind of love, AGAPE love, to the frustrating people in our lives!
Wow! What a revelation! So, that frustrating colleague I have who makes me angry...I am to be patient and kind to them? I am to be slow to anger with them? I shouldn't keep track of all the wrongs they have done? I should work on treating them with kindness and protect our working relationship, hoping that these actions will help our relationship improve? God, are you kidding??? Nope, I believe God is NOT kidding. Can you imagine what our work places would look like and be like if everyone treated each other with THIS kind of love? It's not the hugging, kissing, "I LOVE you" kind of love...it's the AGAPE love...where you out away childish feelings and actions and lead by example.
Is this easy? ABSOLUTELY not!!! We are not capable of showing this kind of love to the difficult people in our lives WITHOUT the help of our heavenly Father. He IS capable of loving the unloveable (thank God!) so take these people to Him in prayer. Daily pray about and for the people on your SECOND list. Ask God what you can do show these people AGAPE love...ask Him to give you strength and wisdom and to soften your heart to their needs.
I'm sure God has blessed you in many ways. Now it's your turn to share that love with others, even those who seem "unloveable."