January 1, 2014
We all have our own ideas of what we think love is. The apostle Paul writes this on the expression of love:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things (I Corinthians 13:4-7).
If we focus on this expression of love, we will overcome hate and condemnation toward others and ourselves. It is written that God is Spirit and also that God is love. Jesus became that expression of love as an example for us. He taught us to love others the way we want to be loved and treated. This is how others will know if we are His disciples: by observing how we love and treat others. I recently read this: "A rose offers her fragrance to Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Atheist alike. It does not stop its perfume because of what one group believes, even if that rose is crushed underfoot." We are to become that expression of love to others. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. If we do not agree on beliefs or interpretations of the Bible, that should not become a wall or division between us. Instead, we should love others and treat them with respect for who they are.
We cannot change the beliefs of others, even if we think we are right. Thoughts of condemnation and judgment will only put up walls of discrimination and ill feelings towards others. Our expressions of love and kindness will speak for themselves. Is it fear that separates? Perfect love casts out fear.
Paul taught that in Christ "we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:28-29).Can we grasp this? This is awesome! We are the offspring of God, who is love! This is our DNA. We are loved and accepted unconditionally by the One who is love. If we abide in that reality, knowledge and fruit will take care of itself. Remember, if you pass by an orange grove, you don't hear the trees straining to push out lovely oranges. They simply are what they were created to be. What were we created to be? We were created to be the expression of the love of God in the earth.
Are we constantly having ill thoughts of others, or are we having kind and loving thoughts of others? A smile or a simple acknowledgement may make a difference in someone's life. We don't know when a small act of kindness from someone else may make a difference in our lives. How we think about and treat others is a seed that will eventually become a harvest in our lives and the lives of others.
I am not writing this because I am trying to teach you what I already do. I write this because I, too, desire to follow this advice from the Scripture. May I encourage others to join me in living this life of love in God? To become a success, we need to help others succeed. Peace and blessing to all.
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