Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Love Deeply

- It's not enough to have faith. It's not enough to pray and read God's Word. What are the two greatest commandments? Love God and love others. We, Christ's followers/God's beloved children, must abound in love. When we truly experience God's irresistible love for us, our love for others will be active. 
- Above all (indicating utmost importance), we are to maintain constant, fervent love for one another. "In 1 Peter 4, the apostle uses an interesting word to describe the love we are to have for one another. He says we are to have a "fervent" love. In the Greek, this word means "stretched out" and carries with it a picture of a runner straining for the finish line. It's a vivid image of a love that never quits. This love is a marathon type of love, not a sprint. What does this "stretched out" love look like? Peter answers this question with the next quote, "Love will cover a multitude of sins." In other words, a fervent, stretched-out love is a love that forgives no matter the cost. Like a marathon runner continues despite the burning in his lungs and the cramps in his muscles because he desires to achieve the goal, so we should endure the pain of rejection and the harsh words of those around us with a love in our hearts and a forgiving spirit. How can we love like this? We can love this way because Christ first loved us. He loved us even when we were sinners. He loved us, even when we rebelled against Him. He loved us with stretched out arms on the cross. Let's love each other in the same way." (~David McGee) "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart." (1 Peter 1:22)
- Love each other deeply/intensely for love covers over a multitude of sins. "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs." (Proverbs 10:12) Once again, this is agape love. This love is full of grace and mercy, kindness and compassion. Love keeps no record of wrongs (love always forgives, holds no grudges, and doesn't take revenge). Love is not easily angered (even when others sin against you); love overlooks offenses. Love doesn't dishonor others (by gossiping or exposing their sins and/or failures). Noah once became too drunk and lay naked in his tent (Genesis 9:21-23). Ham (one of his sons) dishonored his dad by telling his two brothers about his dad's condition. But Shem and Japheth (Noah's other two sons) showed their dad honor/respect by walking in backwards (so that they wouldn't see him naked) and covering his naked body with a garment. That's love in action.

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