Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Perfect Love

Love is patient, 
love is kind and is not jealous; 

love does not brag and is not arrogant, 
does not act unbecomingly; 

it does not seek its own, is not provoked, 
does not take into account a wrong suffered, 

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, 
but rejoices with the truth; 

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Whenever I read this chapter the first thing I do is ask myself these questions: 

Are you patient? Are you kind? Do you act unbecomingly? Do you seek your own? Do you easily get provoked? Do you take into account a wrong suffered? Do you rejoice in unrighteousness? Do you rejoice in the truth? Do you bear all things? Do you believe all things? Do you hope all things? Do you endure all things? 

And then the cause of all of my shortcomings and failures becomes clear to me.

Our pride dictates that our love for others is never perfect ... but we can experience Perfect Love in the current moment.

When God listed these qualities of Christ-like love, there is clearly a reason why patience is first on His list. 

When Jesus was asked by Peter; “How many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me … seven times? Jesus replied no, not seven times; but rather seventy times seven times.” Mathew 18:22-23. There should be no end to our forgiveness or patience with others. But in the world, most things are contrary to God’s Love. And the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.

In other words, our patience is to be like the grace that Jesus continually shows towards each of us. We continue to fail Him day after day, but His Grace and His patience with us never ends.

Christ through His perfect love is able to separate each Christian from their actions and deeds. Jesus is able to do this because He already paid the penalty for our sins of the past, the present, and the future.

The patience that God’s love expects from each of us is a Paradox Principle. It goes against the grain of human feelings and logic. The love of Christ calls us to … from now on … recognize no man according to the flesh, or from a worldly point of view. 2 Corinthians 5:16. Our old ways of reacting when others disappoint us are to pass away. And new ways of seeing things and treating others are to come.

Can you even imagine where we would be in our relationships if everyone were to follow this call for patience that Christ has given each of us? When you meditate on this truth, you can get a glimpse of the way things will be in heaven. 

Love means never taking into an account a wrong suffered. The principle is so easy to understand when we can come to understand the mind of Christ. All of our wrongs suffered by Christ have been forgiven … so what basis do we have to be bitter and angry towards others who have wronged us or hurt our feelings?

Love is not provoked. To be provoked is the opposite of being patient. And when provoked we are likely to have outbursts of anger, or to allow for a seed of bitterness or resentment to grow within our hearts and minds. Paul explains that to stumble here is when we give the devil an opportunity to establish a stronghold in our life. Ephesians 4:26-27

It is impossible to fail if we patiently wait on Christ, and trust in the love of Christ. How do we know this? Well, the eternal truth tells us that Christ-like love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

That’s right (never fails) … another one of those biblical absolutes that the world likes to deny. When we are resting in the love of Christ, and modeling the love of Christ, we can never ever fail. But wait a minute you say, I tried that and It didn’t work with my husband, or my wife, or my children or my friends? Did you really? Did you … rejoice with the truth, and bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things? All means all, and that’s all, all means. All and never are eternal absolutes that reach beyond the understanding and imagination of men.

Somehow most times, feelings and pride always seem to come into play and rob us of our peace and joy.  To endure all things requires for us to rise above our human feelings and logic. When we are abiding in Christ, we are no longer controlled by the things and the people of this world. Christ tells us that we are to no longer to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

I know this appears impossible and that we all fail continually, but with God all things are possible. We are able to abide above in our mind here and now; therefore it is a matter of fixing our mind on Christ, and resting in Him and His eternal Truth.

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. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

The child that Paul speaks of here refers to all of us before we knew Christ as our Lord and Savior. The man he speaks of is the one who has chosen to change his foolish, worldly, and self-centered ways. He has done away with those foolish, prideful, and lustful ways that result in failure, fear, hopelessness, and discouragement. Our vision is clouded by the things of the world, and we cannot see clearly the path that Christ has prepared for us. While we remain here on earth, the best we can do is to be faithful; and to rest in the hope that he has promised us; and to allow the Love of Christ to control our hearts and minds, as he accomplishes his will through the remaining days of our lives. 

His Perfect Love can be ours to enjoy.
We can live the victory Christ promises here and now.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love is patient ... is the beginning of enjoying all that the Love of Christ promises each of us.

God bless you my friends, Bob

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