1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 – So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
THEME OF THE DAY. WIRED TO LOVE AND BE LOVED. Love. It is a universal word; a universal longing in the human soul, and a word so misunderstood and misapplied when it is interpreted, defined, and then lived from a flawed human perspective. In our world today, love is mainly associated with an emotion, a feeling, and an experience. Granted, all of these are contained in love but don’t define love. Should we see love only as an emotion, feeling or experience, we are going to be in big trouble emotionally and spiritually. Our lives will be lived like a ship tossed about in a raging storm; unstable. Whenever a life is lived by emotions and feelings, instability and inconsistency rule. Up one day because we “feel” love and then ready to crawl up in a corner and cry away the day when we don’t “feel” love. And what is even more damaging to a “feeling” based life is the shallowness of commitment it produces in our marriages, families, and churches. In regards to churches, too many people leave churches over feelings and experiences displaying a spiritual instability damaging one’s witness to the faithful power of the Gospel and a “stick to it” commitment to a body of believers.
When it comes to love, the only proper way to see love, define love, and even experience love is when it comes from heaven – God’s love. Human beings were made to be loved and be lovers. We are wired for love, but the “wiring circuit” was broken in the Garden of Eden. When our first parents sinned, disobeyed God, something foreign entered into the human race but has become an incurable disease in the human race – sinful self-love. Now, due to our sin, human love, even in the best of relationships, is tainted with sinful self. We never do anything without the spot of sin on it. Our motives are never 100% pure. Our actions are never 100% sincere. Sin has permeated everything about us including our ability to love. But then comes the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Christians are capable of loving right; of living a life of Christ’s love controlling them. In fact, Christians are the only people who can properly live out a life of love as defined and empowered by God. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-23). New birth gives a new ability to love properly and Godly.
So, if we, as God’s children, are now capable of being loved and love as God designed because of the Gospel, what does that look like on a daily basis? Before we answer that important question, we must define this love of God given to us. And a great definition, a Biblical-principled definition, comes from the pen of the Puritan pastor Thomas Watson. He wrote, “Love is a sweet and gracious affection whereby we wish the good of another and promote his welfare as our own. Love is a sacred fire kindled in the heart by the Spirit, like that fire which came down from heaven.” That is really good! Watson basically tells us true love comes from God, is forgetful of self, and gives itself over to the good of others. The important part of his definition is God is the source of love to us and from us. Remember human love always whispers, “What is in it for me?” God’s love whispers, “What is in it totally for others?”
Well, how do we put this love into actions? I am only going to answer that question with an assignment for us. Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Pay attention to the middle of Jesus’ instructions – “just as I have loved you.” We will only learn to love in a manner acceptable to God when we learn to love as Jesus does. And that begins with us learning how Jesus loved which means saturating our lives with His Gospels to see how He loved. We are wired to be loved and love. Let’s start doing so by coming face-to-face with the Model – the Lord Jesus.
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to go beyond saying ‘I love You’ to showing evidence I really do by actively loving Your people.”
QUOTE: “To know the love of Christ leads to practicing the love of Christ; a practice that is self-denying and sacrificial.”