Love is the key of life and death, Of hidden heavenly mystery: Of all Christ is, of all He saith, Love is the key – (M.H.B. 435)
To be a Christian is, in a sense, to be a person without reputation. If we truly are obedient to Christ – If we take the Scriptures to heart and attempt to live them – we will inevitably come into conflict with the world. Whatever the conflict and wherever it arises (people, possessions, institutions and idols) we need to consistently remember that we belong to no one but Christ. It is necessary for us to stand apart and not to be drawn into the world. We must dare to be different, looking at everything through the prism of Scripture, as things look different when viewed biblically. “ He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him”- John 14:21.
God’s love protects us from our follies, self-destructive ways and gives us life. Indeed precisely because God loves us and wants the best for us, He shows us what is right and commands us that, for our own good, we should listen to what He says and also do what He says. Obedience is therefore an issue of relationship- for obedience means submission to authority:
When we look at God’s covenant love we must not forget to include 1Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
If we do not exhibit this God-kind of attitude, then we must re-examine our commitment to walk in love. The qualities of God’s love in this passage answer the question of what love truly looks like. In light of His love, reconsider your own love walk and let God’s love grow in you.
In the Greek language there are four words that define love but we will deal with only two here. The first is the God-kind of love: “agape.” The second is “phileo” which is brotherly or friendly love. There is a sharp contrast between the two. One is born of the Spirit; the other is born of emotion. Where natural phileo love has its limits; agape is unlimited love. God’s love born in our hearts stands strong even in times when our emotions have a reason to quit loving.
Christian Love – Christ’s Commandment
What’s at the heart of Christian love? Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, once wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers, Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14). “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3).
Many who experience failed love have a fear of giving themselves to others. They fear being ignored or rejected. Rather than becoming vulnerable with others, they interact with people in various ways. They may try to control, dominate, intimidate, or manipulate others.
When weak people like these surround us, our love can overcome and compensate for their lack. We can see through their tactics and realize that the real issue is their fear and insecurity. When we walk in “agape” love it distinguishes us from ordinary people.
Proverbs 10:12 tells us that love does not get involved in strife. Instead, love conceals the weakness and sin of others. “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.”
One of the most outstanding attributes of agape love is that this love stands and does not fail or quit. Agape Love is one of the fruit of the spirit.
The following questions will help us determine whether or not God’s love is working in us. When we are squeezed by problems or people what comes out? Is it the love of God or anger and fear? Are we intolerant of people? How do we display our love?
Everyone gets rubbed the wrong way by people, but not everyone draws on the love of God that is deposited within them for such occasions. Too often, excuses are used to justify rude or angry reactions. Only after we become honest with ourselves can we fully grasp the way others already see us.
God’s love protects us from our follies, self-destructive ways and gives us life. Indeed precisely because God loves us and wants the best for us, He shows us what is right and commands us that, for our own good, we should listen to what He says and do what He says. Obedience is therefore an issue of relationship- for obedience means submission to authority:
A Pharisaic lawyer once asked our Lord, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
According to Matthew’s Gospel, the very essence of the Law and the Prophets is to love God and to love others. And we see this term “the Law and the Prophets” used in one other place in Matthew’s Gospel. It’s in this passage that we find the Biblical definition for love: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”(Matthew7:12)
God’s Promise to enable believers to love Him with an undivided love is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from sin. By the coming of Christ we have a new covenant, which has transformation as its genius – God’s own Holy Spirit coming to indwell us when we accept Christ Jesus, changes our human heart and gives us the enablement to obey God.
Our obedience says so much about our relationship with God- a relationship of Love.
I like the authoritative simplicity of Jesus in John 14:15- “ if you Love me you will obey my commandment.
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Salt & Light
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