Monday, August 09, 2010

A Love that Accepts

1 Corinthians 13:7c

This passage is about a love that accepts and hopes in people who are undeserving of it, as God dispenses His mercy upon us. This is inserted in between protects and perseveres in that we are tolerant and accept people, even endure those we may not like in order to demonstrate real effectual love, thereby treating others with respect, kindness, and honesty. This is what Paul was trying to get these Corinthians to understand, that the good essence of relationship is what makes us likable, enduring, and builds the church, thus showing a glimpse of what God does on a grand scale. God shows us His faith and hope; we reciprocate, passing it on to others. Therefore, we can believe in the best and hope in the best. In contrast, the Corinthians were basically doing the opposite.

Here, real love is optimistic and cultivates growing relationships while repairing damaged ones. It protects us from and helps us deal with disappointments because we will have the best expectations for things to turn out well with others. This love becomes the proof of our salvation. How and what Jesus did in us in regenerating our heart, mind, and soul becomes the touchstone of our profession of faith in Christ. Love is hope and thus not forced upon us; it is a sacrifice and an offering we receive by Christ’s given work of redemption that we accept by our faith. We are not adhering to a code of conduct, but a relationship with our Lord that is filled and infused with love! Real love only comes from a life that is transformed and renewed by what Christ has done for us! We can't grow in the faith by a hope that is centered on our desires or is seeking some kind of spiritual encounter; rather, it comes by knowing, trusting, and obeying Christ as LORD. We are to realize Who He is and what He has done for us and then respond in appreciation, trust, and obedience, fueling our hope, our confidence in Christ, and helps us be optimistic to others around us. Too many Christians have a skewed idea of love that is based on our sinful nature and media, and not His nature and principles. Such thinking and behavior equates a life that is meaningless and produces little to no fruit (Psalm 31:24; 33:22; 71:14; Jer. 3:22; 13:33-35; Hos. 14:4; Zeph. 3:17; Rom. 12:12; 15:1-3; Eph. 4:1-16; Col. 4:7-18; Heb. 6:11-12; 12:2; 18-20; 17:7; 2 Pet. 3:14-18).

The bottom line for this aspect of love to work in and though us is this: Christ, our living Hope that will never fade away! Our hope is that we have God’s blessing, and in how lovingly He goes out of His way to redeem us. This does not mean wishing or just thinking positively; rather, we can have the confidence and conviction that our living God keeps His promises and secures us in Him. It is the assurance—and fact—that God has redeemed us, will bless us, and will care for us and we can take that to the streets of our lives. We need to be reminded of what we have and who we are in Christ. If not, we will soon forget and replace His direction either with our frailty and pride or with the ways of the world (1 Pet. 1: 3-21; 3:15).

Does Hope make you feel that God is patiently working in you and others around you?

What can you do to better understand what God has truly done for you?

How would this give you more optimism and confidence?


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