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332 – Lasting Love

Comments Off on 332 – Lasting Love 10 January 2014

In a world devoid of genuine love, it is hard to find love that lasts. Our society is quite impersonal and many of our institutions are built to separate and not integrate those who are a part of them. In Christian communities love should always prevail. It is important for us to learn what the Bible has to say about “real love,” and to apply those teachings if we are to be the salt and light we need to be in our world today! The Scripture teaches that if you have Christ, who is love, in your life there will be a natural outgrowth of love coming from you. Others will see and experience it and know that you belong to God. A few lines here will help bring to light the teachings in a passage meant to instruct us on lasting love.

Love between those in God’s family should be:

1. constant – God’s plan was for communities of Christians to love one another. The church is supposed to be structured to facilitate the experience of this kind of life. Too many churches have become cold, impersonal, and disengaged as far as relationships among the members are concerned. The writer in Hebrews says, “Keep on loving each other as brothers [and sisters]” (Heb. 13:1 NIV). Nothing should interrupt the love of Christian people one for the other. You may be wondering about how you can love people who get involved in underhanded church politics and hate campaigns. Those who try to fracture your closest relationships seem hard to love. You’re mistreated in a business deal. How can you love that one? Jesus gave us the truth we need before he ascended back to heaven. He gave us this command: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34 NLT). There was nothing new about loving. The issue was that we are to love as He loved! Jesus’ love remained through thick and thin. Even after they beat Him, spit on Him, pressed thorns into his brow, misjudged Him, drove nails into His hands, and thrust a spear into His side, He still loved them enough to pray, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing”  (Lk. 23:34 The Message). Our love for one another is to be constant!

2. continuing – Our love for other Christian people is never to fail under any circumstances. “Continue to love each other with true brotherly love” (Heb. 13:1 ; LB). Paul said, “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV). The indication is that true love, one Christian for another, never fails. Nothing can spoil it or contaminate the relationship. This is the kind of love that is the fruit of the Spirit who indwells each of us who is a believer in Christ. John said, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 Jn. 4:7 NIV). He also said, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well” (1 Jn. 5:1 NIV). It is as simple as this. You cannot love God and hate one of His other children. Our love for one another must be continuing to be authentic!

3. committed – This whole idea of the continuation of love among Christians is important, and that requires commitment. There are a lot of people in churches who feel they are unloved and that they are unimportant to those who are the leaders in the church. The leadership seems disengaged and disinterested in them. They cannot find meaningful relationships with others with similar interests. Churches must learn to assimilate their new members more fully into their fellowship, and they must remain committed in their love for those they are reaching. In the everyday ordinary rub of life people, even Christians, can seem more like coarse sandpaper rubbing against one another than like loving and tender-hearted Christian brothers and sisters. It is in those times that we will discover the real nature of our love. If it is genuine and committed, we will continue loving. It is then that love puts on its working clothes and stays with the task. I exercise regularly and know the feeling of pain from overdoing it occasionally. Actually some pain is good to help with our growth and physical development, and it is also helpful in the growth of our love for one another. Love puts on its working clothes in the form of hospitality. “Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Heb. 13:2 TLB). It also works in its expression of care, “Don’t forget about those in jail. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those being mistreated, for you know what they are going through” (Heb. 13:3 TLB). We are to love and care for those who are suffering for their faith whether in the workplace, or in social settings, or in hostile environments created by those who oppose Christianity.

4. consolidating – The glue that holds the family of God together is love. It is the exercising of spiritual gifts God has given us in ways that build our personal and corporate fellowship. We are dependent on God, but we also are to be joined to one another in the family of God to the extent that we see ourselves as body parts joined together. God made us with a dependence that is irresistible when we became part of His family. “Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you” (Heb. 13:3 (The Message). When something happens to one of us, the others are also affected. We should not isolate ourselves, we should involve ourselves! We have an inescapable responsibility to one another to unite in Christian love!

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