In the Gospels, it tells us to love each other…whether it’s family, neighbors, or enemies…God’s word instructs us to love one another. For when we obey His word, His love is truly made complete in us. (I John 2:5) And by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God’s love will manifest and be perfected in us as we display that love to others.
Jesus says to us in John 15:4, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” For us, this means being rooted and established in the truth of the Gospel and trusting in the Lord daily. And from this will come a over-abundance of fruit in our life…of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
None of us is immune to grief, suffering, and troubles…for they are just part of this journey we call life. But it’s good to reflect on the attributes of the Lord spoken of in this Scripture today. God’s love for us is everlasting and unconditional…for there is nothing in and of ourselves we can do to obtain this love…it is a free gift given by grace not our works. But also there is nothing so terrible we can ever do that this love can’t reach us. Mercy and kindness are central to God’s character, and it’s out of this great love for us that we can find forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
There are certain things that someone can attempt to describe to us, but until we can experience it for ourselves, we just don’t get it. Take instance, the first time you saw the ocean and that vast expanse of churning water…no amount of prior description someone gave you could even come close to you seeing it with your own eyes. The same thing happens with Jesus. We may hear about Him all our lives…but it’s not until we take that personal step of faith and experience Him, that we can then know true joy, peace and hope in our lives.
The word that stands out in this Scripture to me is the word always…repeated four times in this short sentence. So, what does always really mean? Well, according to Webster, it means, at all times. Thus, this verse shows us what true unselfish love should look like. It’s the type of love that is constantly looking for the good in people…believing in and expecting for the very best. It’s a love that will bear up under a load of misery, adversity, persecution, and provocation with faith, hope, and a smile…thinking of others first. And just like the love of Christ, unselfish love never fails, and never gives up on others.
For the next few days I’m going to writing on the familiar verses in the 13th Chapter of I Corinthians, also known as the Love Chapter. These verses tell us what Christian love should look like. But even more importantly, they tell us what selfish self-centered love looks like. The love Jesus taught of was an unconditional agape love…love that is compassionate, and understanding…refusing to retaliate or repay evil with evil. But the love the world teaches of is egotistical, self-absorbed, and arrogant….refusing to put others first. These verses will look at both types of love…selfish and unselfish, and their impact on the world.
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.