What If We Could Just Love?
1 Peter 2:12-4:8 (The Message Translation)
So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretence, envy and hurtful talk… Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family… What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason… Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble… No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful…
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.
Love can change the world
It may sound like an insurmountable task, but if each of us takes responsibility for our own sphere of influence, we can make a difference.
D.L. Moody notes: “If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.”
Learn to love
If it sometimes seems like love doesn’t come naturally to you, remember that the God of love lives inside of each believer and He will help us to become more like Him.
Consider Ephesians 5:2 “Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”
Many people fear rendering themselves vulnerable by loving others. They may have been hurt in the past and just don’t see their way clear to opening up again.
In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes: “To love at all is to be venerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable...The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.”
If you are hesitant to love, take some time to spend with the Lord. If necessary, make an appointment with your pastor or a counselor and get closure on the things that are keeping your heart captive.
If at first you find it difficult to love, I would like to encourage you to keep trying. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote: "Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor - act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
Love can be hard work, but it is worth it
It takes hard work to fully love those around you. Love can be exhausting. Sometimes we may feel that we don’t have any love left over to give.
It is important to realize that your spiritual and physical condition has a strong bearing on your relationships and ability to love. Ensure that you spend time with the Lord in order to keep yourself recharged. Get sufficient rest, eat a balanced diet and do regular exercise to ensure that you maintain your ability to love others lavishly.
What the Bible says about love
- Love blesses - Romans 12:6-21
- Love forgives - Luke 22:34
- Love is an attitude - Philippians 3:13-17
- Walking in love is God’s perfect will for us - Jeremiah 4:14, Romans 12:2
- Love is the more excellent way - 1 Corinthians 12:31
- Love speaks kind words - Proverbs 31:26
- Love never gives up - 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Love is not proud - 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Love doesn’t brag - 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Love doesn’t want what love doesn’t have - 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Love cares more for others than for self - 1 Corinthians 13:4&5
- Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others - 1 Corinthians 13:5
- Love is not easily provoked or irritated - 1 Corinthians 13:5
- Love doesn’t force itself on others - 1 Corinthians 13:5
- Love doesn’t revel when others grovel - 1 Corinthians 13:6
- Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth - 1 Corinthians 13:6
- Love keeps doing good to the end - 1 Corinthians 13:7
- Love trusts God always - 1 Corinthians 13:7
- Love always looks for the best - 1 Corinthians 13:7
- Love puts up with anything - 1 Corinthians 13:7
- Love never dies - 1 Corinthians 13:8
- Love banishes fear - 1 John 4:18
- God wants YOUR love - Hosea 6:6
- Love extravagantly - 1 Corinthians 13:13
My prayer for you
According to Philippians 1:9-11 I pray that “your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”