Wednesday, January 30, 2013
"And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." -- 1 John 3:23
This week I am writing about love. Don't you think we take that word for granted? I LOVE that movie! I LOVE the Buckeyes! I LOVE cheesecake! But real love...love that Jesus commands us to give one another...is a much deeper and intimate emotion. If we are to love one another...everyone we come in contact with, how are we to do that? WHY did Jesus command us to do this difficult thing?
These are tough questions!
First of all, what does REAL LOVE mean? Paul gave us an indepth definition of the word in 1 Corinthinians 13:1-13.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not want what belongs to others.
Love does not brag.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love does not look out for selfish interests.
Love is slow to anger.
Love does not keep track of others' wrongs.
Love is not happy with evil.
Love is full of joy when truth is spoken.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always endures.
Love never fails.
WOW! The word love does mean more than really liking cheesecake! Jesus knew that LOVING ONE ANOTHER is not easy. If we are to LOVE one another, which means everyone we come into contact with, we are to treat everyone with patience, kindness and not be jealous, proud, bragging, selfish, angry. We are to protect others, trust others, and forgive others.
Does this sound like the culture that we live in every day? Of course not! In our world, people are out for themselves. We are encouraged to look out for our own interests. Getting involved in the problems of others...showing others the love characteristics listed above...is messy and inconvenient.
So, I ask again...WHY did Jesus ask us to do such a difficult thing as to love one another? For one thing, God knows it may be messy, but he also knows that REALLY LOVING others makes our lives better in so many ways. Love erases many sins by forgiving them. When we love and forgive others, our hearts are healthier and more ready for the life that God promises us. Also, when we are really able to love others, people will know that we are disciples of Jesus...Christians. "They will know we are Christians by our love."
Jesus' Great Commission was to make disciples of all nations...to spread the good news of the Gospel. How better to show people we are Christians and draw others to this life of peace and hope than to live like Jesus and show REAL LOVE to everyone we meet? It is not easy, and there will be times when we fail. But, if we reach out to God, ask him for help, and try to live the way Jesus taught, we will have success! We will be able to show REAL LOVE to others!
Dear Jesus, you were such a great teacher! You showed us and commanded us to love one another so we could live the lives God wants us to live. Help each one of us live out the REAL LOVE characteristics Paul taught us about so others will see we are Christians and be drawn to your peace and hope as well. Amen.