John 15:9-13 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Do you think the Love of Christ is controlling most Christians in today’s world? Jesus says; :He wants his joy to be in us and for our joy to be made full. His commandment is that “you love one another, just as I have loved you.”
Jesus has given us this charge. This is the Law of Christ … The primary instruction of the New Testament. When Jesus says this is my commandment (singular) the message is clear: one new commandment replaces all of the laws of the old testament. Rom. 13: 8-10 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I had this driven home to me by my mother when I was a new Christian. I had a dispute with a relative and had gone to my attorney for advice. The attorney looked at the documents and advised me to sue, assuring me that the facts were clear and that I would win the dispute in court quickly and easily. When I explained to my mother that I intended to sue my relative, she told me I could not do it and quoted the verses above and one other to prove her point. She convinced me that right or wrong was not the issue, but living the love of Christ was the issue. I must say my mother was right. And although my decision cost me a large sum of money, I came out the winner on the issue because I did what I know Christ was leading me to do. The issue was then dead to me … because I turned it over to God and moved on. I could have won a foolish battle, but it would have caused the opposite of the love of Christ to rule in my family and my heart. Was this beyond comprehension for my unbelieving attorney and anyone else who understood the facts? … Yes, everyone except myself, Jesus Christ, and of course the person who chose not to honor our agreement. I imagine that person is still carrying the burden.
So where do we go wrong here? Why is it so hard for us to NOT follow our lust and pride? You might think I was foolish to not prove my case in court. But learning how to love others the way Christ loves me is way more valuable to me than winning a silly lawsuit. On a personal level, I have a harder time with being honest with people. I have found that most people do not want you to tell them the truth. When you do tell them what you really think, they often take it personally. I convince myself that Jesus would be totally honest, and that is his example of love to follow … just like he was with Peter, when the cock crowed three times. But that does not change the results … tell someone the truth and end of relationship, and is some cases it can be much worse than that. Let’s look at the some of the qualities of Christ’s love and hopefully God will reveal where we all need to grow in our love. 1 Corinthians 13 … the love chapter, is probably the most quoted verse in all of scripture, but how many of us have really taken these verses personally. I am convinced that many listen to the poetry, but most do not apply the words personally. Don't get me wrong I have a hard time writing this one ... I stand convicted on multiple counts. But be sure about one thing ... Jesus is talking directly to you!
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
These first verses describe a man who is a great communicator, a man filled with wisdom and knowledge, has faith that moves mountains, who gives everything of value to the poor, and who sacrifices his whole life for others. I know this might sound like the most loving person you have ever met. But apparently he did all of these things for all of the wrong reasons. This person lacked the type of heart that Jesus is talking about and as a result … it profits him nothing. Now, that is a hard pill to swallow. Caution ... this next section is in your face!
Next, let’s look at what Jesus is looking for in a mature loving Christian, and personalize these verses so they speak directly to you.
Love is patient …Are you patient or impatient? Do you continually become irritated with others?
Love is kind … Are you kind or unkind? What acts of kindness have you performed lately?
Love is not jealous … Are you jealous? Are you sure your not jealous? Do you require exclusive loyalty? Are you envious, suspicious or slanderous?
Love does not brag … Do you build yourself up or do you build others up?
Love is not arrogant … Are you self-important? Are you prideful? Is your worth bound up in your possessions, accomplishments or your work?
Love does not act unbecomingly … Do you say or do things beneath the character of a Christian? Are you lacking Christian character qualities?
Love does not seek its own … do you truly care about other people? Or are you constantly focused on looking out for yourself?
Love is not provoked … Are you easily provoked? Do you let the sun go down on your anger? Do you allow things to lead you to bitterness?
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered … Do you hold grudges? Do you forgive others easily? Do you judge others and write people off?
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness … hidden sin, immorality, blasphemy
Love rejoices with the truth … Do you get excited and encouraged when reading or studying God’s word? Discovering truth is cause for rejoicing!
Love bears all things … Do you stand it the face of adversity or give up easily? Do others look at you as a person who will do the right thing?
Love believes all things … Are you distrustful and suspicious? do others see you as an encourager?
Love hopes all things … Are you hopeful or are you despondent? do you turn everything over to Christ in prayer?
Love endures all things … Are you persistent? do you never give up? Are you an overcomer or a quitter?
Love never fails … do you have a spirit that lives above your worldly circumstances or are you continually defeated by them? Have you set your mind on the things in our heavenly kingdom?
Love does away with childish things … Are you focused on the things that are important to God or are you consumed by the issues of the world? Are the games of life most important to you? Or are you a mature person spiritually?
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
God Bless you, my friend … Bob
Joy to the World! #2
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