I feel that God is REALLY trying to teach me about love lately. Maybe He is preparing for the marriage I am entering into or perhaps it is just an area of my life where He thinks I need to grow. Probably both. But I'm being hit with love EVERYwhere: church, devotional book, as I am reading scripture....And not just loving Jonathan. But developing a deeper love for Him and for loving OTHERS.
Let me explain.
Love God: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind."-Luke 10:27
Love People: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."-John 15:12
Make Disciples: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."-Matthew 28:19-20
Our lead pastor, Chris, has quoted 1 Peter 4:8 almost every Sunday during this series. 1 Peter 4:8 says: "LOVE covers a multitude of sins.'
Absolutely it does. Think about it.....
Right now think of someone you love dearly. Now, would you lie to that person? Talk bad about that person? Steal from that person? etc...
NO! We are trying our best NOT to do those things to our loved ones. When we are loving others, we sin less. It's just that simple.
But what if I hadn't told you to think about some you loved. What if I told you to think about someone you STRONGLY dislike? Someone you have a hard time getting along with? Maybe someone who has hurt you before? Not as easy now, huh? THIS is where it gets tricky.
Luke 10:27 says: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The dictionary defines neighbor as : being next to or very near. When I think about the word "neighbor" happy things come to mind. Borrowing a cup of sugar, cookouts, birthday parties, etc. All fun, happy things. For me growing up, my ALL my neighbors were my family members. We lived in a row with my mom's side of the family. So when I think of "neighbors" I think of family and friends. SO does God ask to just love our "neighbors"? Let's see what Jesus says....
Matthew 5:43-48: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
This is where it gets hard. It's easy to love our friends but not so easy to love that someone at work or at school who always gets under our skin. BUT that is what we are called to do.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."-1 John 4:7-12
I haven't been asking God to make me love others. I have been asking Him to give me opportunities to love others. That when I may open my mouth to say something negative about someone, I will remember the cross and that Jesus died to save us ALL. I am also trying to make conscience efforts to show the people that are close to me I love them. I know I need to do better at that. I have some AMAZING people in my life and I do not show them how much they mean to me. But I am determined to do better!
Sorry I have rambled on, but like I said at the beginning, this is something that God has REALLY been putting on my heart lately. LOVE. Just wanted to share with y'all :)
Thought: Have YOU showed God's love to someone today?