Friday, January 29, 2010

The Command to Love

The Word of God commands us to live a life of love, therefore it is important to understand exactly what love is. 1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the "love chapter" because it explains and defines love for us. Let us look at that definition.

1 Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails...

Love will encompass not just merely some of these traits, but all of them. The perfect example of this love was lived out in the life of Jesus Christ. He demonstrated love more fully then any man is capable. But while we as humans may at times falter, this is the standard we are to strive for.

The world's definition of love differs greatly from God's. The world thinks of love as merely a feeling or an emotion. They believe love is the giddy sensation that we get about someone or something we like. They will follow that emotion blindly and do whatever it tells them to do. But we must remember, that while we should love one another deeply from the heart we can only do so correctly after our heart has been purified by following God's truth (1 Peter 1:22). The Bible warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). So when the world tells you to follow your heart, beware. Following a deceitful heart will not lead you to a life of love. To act upon love, your heart must first be pure.

1 Tim 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

To love means we must first have a pure heart, filled with the love of Christ. When we are saved we are given a new heart.

Ezek 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Only those who know the Lord can truly love, for only those who are saved have a pure heart. When we submit ourselves to the Lord and accept his gift of salvation we become a new creation and the old ways should begin to disappear (2 Cor. 5:17). Now that we are saved we should be striving to live a life of love as defined by the Word of God, not by the world. Unlike what the world teaches, love is not merely a feeling, love is an action.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth .

It does us no good to say we love someone when our actions demonstrate something different entirely. We must act upon love, but those actions must be based upon the truth. It is not love to act upon a feeling or emotion in a way that contradicts God's Word. We must test both our words (what we say) and our actions (what we do) against the word of God. So what does true love look like? Look again at the passage in 1 Corinthians.

1 Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails...

Do you constantly lose patience with a person? Then you are not demonstrating love. Do your actions display kindness? If no, then you are not displaying love. We should not envy what others have nor should we be boastful and proud of our own accomplishments. Neither extreme shows love. We must be gentle rather than rude. And of course we should be putting others first rather than seeking our own self-satisfaction. When we are showing love we are not constantly angry. Love will forgive those who hurt us rather than constantly bringing up their past mistakes. We should take no pleasure in evil but always rejoice with the truth. Love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Failure is not an option in love.

Matt 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

2 John 5 ...I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love : that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love .

John 15:17 This is my command: Love each other.

Rom 13:9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Rom 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love . Honor one another above yourselves.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love . 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love : not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.


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