Having True Love

“’If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them.’” –Luke 6:32 (NIV)

Anyone can love those who love them. Who wouldn’t love some who is kind and considerate towards us, or who is quick to pay us a timely compliment? There are some people who are naturally charming and lovable, and it is easy for our affections to gravitate towards them. But what if that same person suddenly became an eyesore for us? Perhaps they suddenly become insensitive or uncouth. Our love for them would slowly descend into annoyance and irritation. We would become blind to their admirable qualities and all we will be able to think about is how much they anger us. However, this only proves how fragile our love is for others, prone to change and never truly constant no matte how much we may boast otherwise.

The problem with human love is that it is self-serving. When we love others out of our natural love, it is a conditional form of love. We simply love them because they make us feel good about ourselves when they treat us well out of respect and concern. True love however, is when we continue to show our affection to others even when they do nothing to be deserving of it. Few of us would be willing to show this kind of love to those who especially arouse our ire. Yet, this is the exact love which we are to imitate as children of Christ. Though He being a holy God could not tolerate we who are fallen as a result of our deliberate choice to indulge in sin, He wants to restore us so that we may have life. That is why Christ’s death and resurrection is the greatest act of love so that by His blood we are washed of our sin and made spotless in the eyes of God. When we have allowed Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts, He will train us in how to love as He loves us; with no strings attached and a disregard for the self. Knowing that Christ loves us despite our sinfulness and will never give up on us, what right do we have to withhold love from others? It is only by abiding in His Spirit that we can truly love, so that others might find hope and healing in the love of God.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Better World With Christ

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” –Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

People want to live in a world where love forms the basis of human relationships. It is a sentiment reflected in the lyrics of songs, in the aspirations of visionaries who dream of utopia, and in the goals of organizations which seek to promote peace in the world. However, history has shown that man is incapable of bringing about this perfect world where everyone acts in love towards one another. While it is truly a noble and admirable pursuit, our innate human sinfulness prevents us from realizing this desire that we have for a better world. What ends up happening is that selfishness and pride take over our minds; causing us to sabotage any attempts that humanity may undertake to create a world where love is paramount and where everyone lives together in harmony and peace.

In the face of this reality it is easy to fall into disillusionment and hopeless. But the wonderful truth is that there is hope for a better world. However, this hope does not stem from human action. Man has proven that he cannot bring Heaven on Earth. For this reason, God seeks to bring healing to this chaotic world. He is in the business of restoring us from our fallen state and breaking the bonds that our sinful nature has enslaved us to. That is why Christ had to die for us, so that by His blood we are cleansed of our sin and through His resurrection we adopt a new nature characterized by His righteousness. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts, He will carry out the work of making us like Him in His love. Just as how Christ has shown His sacrificial love for us in paying the penalty for our sins so that we may have life, that same love will animate us as we allow His Spirit to make it overflow from within our hearts. As children of Christ we are to love one another with the love which can only come from knowing Christ as Lord; giving those around us a glimpse of the hope that we have in Christ when He will complete His restorative work to make all things new, and reign on Earth.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Sharing the Vision

“I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.” –Numbers 11:17 (NIV)

Working together in a group setting can often come with its disadvantages. Conflicting personalities, differing expectations, and a lack of unity can not only serve to hinder productivity, but create a very unpleasant environment in the process. That is why we can sometimes be so loathe to working with others, fearing that our vision will not be realized and thinking that it would be better if we did not entrust others with our aspirations. But what a joy it is when people work together in unity! Grasping a common vision everyone diligently works together towards that vision no matter the disappointments and failures. When the successful end result is achieved every member of the group is satisfied, echo one celebrating the victories gained and congratulating each other on a job well done.

God has placed within each and every one of us a vision. Those good and pleasing plans and ambitions which we cherish come from Him who assures us that He works to give us hope and a future. However, we may not trust others with this vision and keep it to ourselves thinking that if we get others involved they will only ruin it for us. Yet what often is the case is that God has given us a vision that was not meant to be borne by ourselves. Rather, for it to be fulfilled He requires that we allow others whom He has strategically placed to help carry out His perfect will for us. If we jealously guard our dreams and desires, we turn them into idols that will only serve to hinder the work God is doing through us. But if we surrender every area of our lives to Christ, giving back to Him the desires He has placed in our hearts, He will lead us to others who have caught the same vision He has given us so that His will may be fulfilled.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.