Monday, August 16, 2010

Real love Perseveres!

This aspect of love is showing us the power of unconditional love, that we have a God who is always there and to whom we can always come back! Christ's love was not only shown through words, but also by His sacrificial death. He is our model for who we are and how we are. For example, we draw others to ourselves and make friends by what and how we are, not and/or by what we want. These are distinguishing characteristics of Christ, and the marks of us, His followers. Our standard is Christ's love for us that we return to others around us. Love is more than action, more than feeling; to be true, it can’t be one without the other. Love is not mandatory; we are not manipulated or coerced to love others or even be loving or be loved ourselves. Being loving is not about adhering to a religion or some kind of give-to-get scheme. Rather, love is an aspect of our gratitude, a piece of ourselves that we are willing to give because of a relationship with our Holy Lord to others around us (John 3:23; 4:7-8, 11-12, 19-21; 13:34-35; 1 Cor. 13:7d)!

This passage is about a love that Jesus calls us to that is opposite to our feelings and inclinations. Paul was also using this rhetoric to showcase what God’s great attributes are and what He can empower us to do. Why is this important? Because, people move toward those people who encourage, and move away from those who tear down and hurt. When we really love as Christ demonstrated and sacrificed for us to do, we display Him and show Him to people who are hurting, who are damaged and stuck in worried lives. Therefore, we can bring healing and reconciliation and fill in the emptiness of people that others reject or refuse to see. The original call to the Corinthians was to show real love to a church that forgot to love. We can follow this so that real love can be manifested in our lives, in our homes, and in our churches. Then, we can display this eminence of virtue into the world by the gift of our endurance bought by Christ’s redemption.

If this love were working in me, how would I then act toward my friends, family, and people who help me?

What about when they hurt me?

If “Jesus were me,” if He were living and walking in my life, (He is, by the …Way!) how would I be touching the lives of others?

Would I gossip? Be negative? Be condescending? Be engrossed in career?

Be all about “me?” Pay others back with retaliation and retribution?

Or, would I be a person of faith and maturity, showing my partnership with Christ demonstrated with a love that endures, that goes the extra mile? So that when a spouse or stranger pushed my “buttons,” I would not push back? Would I retain conviction and character, powered though the power of His Spirit? Would I realize I have His Holy Spirit without measure or limit? Jesus is not me, but He is in me and the results of my life should be the same! Is this revealed in you—by you? If not, why not?

Consider this: what would your life look like if you behaved and cooperated in God’s way? Keep in mind that He will empower you with the gifts and courage. This is why we have the Fruit of the Spirit; He grows this fruit of love within us, cultivating it through our growth and maturity process in the same way that a tree bears fruit, just as we take what He gives us and nourish others by His Work. Then, we will have the gumption to stick it out, be more sympathetic and understanding, realize that the people who hurt us are hurting people themselves and embrace His call with the conviction to love them anyway. Christ is the One who can permeate them and use us as the exhibit, the picture on the box, and His Word as the instructions to put it all together. People need to see love lived out; so live it out!

What do you think Christ would like to see happen in your heart and life? What is His goal for your inner life?

What does it take for real love to be manifested in your life? How can you make a love that endures work in your home and church?

How does your church bring healing and reconciliation to fill in the emptiness in hurting people? What does your church need to do?

1 Comments:

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