Does Love cover you?
Do you use love to cover and bear the frailties of others? How would this help make you more vulnerable and yet more free?
It will make you both more vulnerable and more free! You will be more content and joyful and able to be an encourager and not a criticizer. You will even mature and take others’ criticism because God is your cover. Why fear? You can learn how to fine tune yourself and be better in character. We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs on our self-concerns and facing those of our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. If love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then we have only lust and pride, not real love! God's love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return, flow out from us to those around us. God's love is the ultimate power for the Christian. Love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be pursued and worked on (John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Cor. 13:3)!
This is the edifying Love of other people that covers their faults with more understanding and acceptance. Through it, we realize that Christ accepted us! Thus, we will build others up and not tear them down; the contrast to this is to delight in their troubles! When we really trust God, we will realize we are responsible for moving ahead with our faith. It gives us an opportunity to show our good attitude and be motivated as His display, pointing to Him.
I the love you have and give enduring? This means to cover like a roof that protects the occupants of a home. It also means an uncritical love that endures harshness for a greater purpose. It denotes the covering of others as Christ did when He offered real love that continually forgives. We are to overlook the faults and transgressions of others against us (within reason) with love as long as there is no abuse or dysfunction. We are also not to gossip or slander one another as the original hearers of this letter did. This aspect of love also points out to us that it is God’s power that leads and protects¾not our ways or inclinations. The essential framework for building a healthy life and church is to understand that our prime purpose is to glorify Christ, not to prefer our comforts or ideas. We are to shine before Him by holding up His truth, making Him known in a dark world (Prov. 10:12; Matt. 18:21-22; 1 Cor. 9:12; Eph. 4:32; 1Thess. 3:1-5; 4:9-10; James 5:20; 1 Pet. 4: 7-11; 2 Pet. 1:7; 3:14-18; 1 John 4:7-11)!
In God’s economy, Love is measured by what we give, not what we get! It is uncritical, trusting, and continuing! This is one of the great aspects of what God does for us: He protects us from Himself! Yes, because it is solely by His acceptance of us that we are saved. There is nothing that we can add to it, such as good works or clean living. This is what Justification means—that we are justified by God's righteousness and atonement. He is covering us, protecting us from His wrath and punishment as a fireman covers a child in his fireproof coat, rescuing that little one from the flames. To God, you started the fire and even deserve the fire and all the loss and consequences thereof; but now, because His love is a mercy that covers, we are covered by what Christ has done for us. This crafts a bridge for our reconciliation to God; we were in perfect relationship to Him before the fire (fall), and now we are again in harmony (Rom. 3:23-28; 6:23; 7:18; Gal. 3:11; 5:17; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).
Why is love not to be confined to a feeling or to an action? How does love point to something greater than itself? Can you give an example?
What needs to happen and what do you need to do to allow love and trust to endure in and through you?
What can you do to better overlook the faults and transgressions of others within reason and with love? What is the balance between this and taking abuse?
How would this radically change your relationships and improve your life? What is stopping you from being more of a real lover?