Love 4

1 John 4:20-21

There have been many, many times as a parent when I have heard loud thumping upstairs and called out to my children, “What are you doing up there?” And of course, the answer is always, “Nothing.”

That’s the loudest nothing I have ever heard. Are they doing nothing? No, they are doing something and it is usually something they should not be doing. Their words and their behavior do not match up.

John continues his commentary on expressing love in faith in today’s passage. What is the connection between loving God and loving our fellow human beings? Why would it be easier to love another person? What is the requirement of loving God?

Just as my children’s words do not always match what is going on, there are times when we as believers do not live out what we are saying. We may claim that we love God, we may claim that we love our brothers and sisters in the world, but if we do not actively express that love to the people we encounter, we are not truly able to love God.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that so many who claim to be Christians are unable to love all people. Prejudice, bias, anger and hatred all still raise their ugly heads even in the most devout worshipers in the greatest churches. Simply claiming the name of Christ does not make us Christians nor does it make us children of God.

To be a child of God, to be a person who loves God, we must also love our brother. This is almost a test for us. We can see other people. They are here and real, something which can be touched and seen. If we cannot love another person, someone we can actually see and therefore have mercy upon, how can we possibly have genuine love for our God who is an unseen entity?

As hard as this may be it is God’s command that we love one another. If we love God we must love our brother.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must change for you to truly love all God’s children?

Love 3

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The other day a co-worker told about how he had to give medicine to his ailing son, a toddler. The medicine tasted terrible but was necessary to bring about healing. But the child would not drink the medicine even when it was mixed with other drinks to make it more palatable.

As a last resort my co-worker and his wife held down their son, squirted the medicine into his mouth and forced him to swallow. At first glance this may seem a terrible thing to do, but it was done in great love.

Most are familiar with the “Love Chapter” from 1 Corinthians. It is commonly read at weddings and is a wonderful commentary on what it means to have love for another. How many attributes of love are listed here? How does love rejoice in the truth? How does love persevere?

There are two major misconceptions about love. The first is that we can love another and still have all the many things that we want. In fact, if we truly love another, we will not envy them their successes nor lord over them with our own. If we truly love we will tolerate so many flaws that exist in the one we love with patience and kindness.

The second common misconception is that to love someone means that you let them have their way in all things. This is not true either. To truly love another we must desire the best for that person, and often that requires patience on our part. But mainly it requires that we persevere in our love and that we “always protect” and “always hope.”

This is tough love. This is the love that causes us to elicit anger from the one we love, but our actions are intended not to harm but to benefit the one we love.

If we will truly love in faith and love as Jesus loves then there will be those times when we not only sacrifice our own happiness for the good of another, but we will risk anger so that we can give what is best to the ones in need.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can your love protect and persevere with loved ones?

Love 2

Romans 12:9-10

Many of the popular sit-coms on television today present a skewed version of love. The stories revolve around husbands and wives who spend more time irritating one another and operating behind the back of the other than they do actually caring for each other.

These ridiculous and somewhat callous interactions bring about the laughter the writers and producers desire, but the situations are far from healthy. All is well in the end of each episode and the spouses usually mend fences with a simple statement “I love you.”

In his letter to the church at Rome Paul comments on love. What does he say about it? What should we hate? How should we treat one another?

There are many people who use the word “love” in their day-to-day relationships with others. But simply saying the word does not always make it the truth. There are those who claim to love others when in fact they care more about themselves than they do the person they say they love.

They may delight when their “loved one” suffers a defeat because they are now in a better position. They may have more selfish ambitions than they do genuine love for another.

But we are encouraged to have sincere love. Our love must be real and true. It goes beyond mere words. To live in love, to love in faith, is to have genuine love that desires what is best for the other person, the one who is loved, even if that means a sacrifice on our part.

Loving in faith means that we will hate the evils of the world, the troubles that others may experience, and the injustices we see. Loving in faith means to care more for others than we do for ourselves. Loving in faith means doing what is best for others, honoring them above ourselves, even when that may be a challenge.

When we love, truly love, we cling desperately to what is good. We do all that we can to benefit the one we love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What do you do to cling to what is good?

Love 1

1 John 4:15-16

If you take a glass of water and put a stone in that water, the water remains the water it was. The stone may take up some room for awhile but you can remove the stone and the water is relatively unchanged.

If you add food coloring to the water the water becomes that color and the dye becomes part of that water. They are inseparable at that point. The two have become one, a new thing.

That is similar to what John is talking about when he talks about us loving in faith. What happens when we acknowledge or confess that Jesus is the Son of God? What can we rely on? How is God described? How do we live in God?

Many people can claim to be believers in God. Many people can claim they have accepted Jesus as their Lord. But if they do not live in the love of God then they are like the water with a stone placed in it.

They are unchanged. They may be affected slightly by the presence of God but they remain who they were at the outset.

To truly believe in Jesus is to make Jesus part of who you are. It is to allow yourself to be changed by the presence of Jesus. That change comes when you begin to live in the love of God. You change when you begin loving others in the faith that you have in Christ.

If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and we invest ourselves in our faith, then the result of faith is that we will start living our faith. And part of living that faith is loving in the same way that Jesus has loved. We must allow Jesus to change our attitude and our hearts so that we can care for other people in the way Jesus does. This means that we must be changed into the truly faithful who express God’s love in the way we act toward others.

We must truly believe that God is love, and when we live in God making Him part of who we are we can love as God loves with a sincere and caring heart.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must change in you to live in the love of God?