About a month and a half ago in the dead of the night, asleep in my bed, I heard the Lord say to me 1 John 4 but was not sure what verse I had heard, though I had a strong sense it was verse 20. Right after that my sleep just went away, so I sat up, picked my phone from the side opened my Bible and read the Word. 1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? … I sat there quietly reflecting on that word even begun to ask God to forgive me for I remembered the very many people in His church that I had failed to love. Not that I hate them, I think it’s too strong a word or so we imagine and like to say. However, I am starting to think that maybe there is no such thing as hate, just as there is no such thing as dark because it’s just but the absence of light. Just hold on; before you jump on it I am talking about hating a person, not things or sin. You know like I never have come across a scripture where God says that He hates anyone but always talks about how He detests/ hates their evil ways.
Anyway, 1 John 4:16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. Love is basically what I will be sharing about. Yes, I know you know all about it, but before you dismiss this post thinking it’s just another one of those mushy posts… I am not talking about a warm fuzzy feeling, or the butterflies or summersaults your stomach experiences when you think about that one person. I am talking about Love 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 the very one that says LOVE NEVER FAILS verse 8. That scripture for me is just it!!! The standards of what love is really all about are just high and its probably easier to do these things for people we are related to or have freely chosen to relate to. But other believers??? You know like those guys who you don’t talk to in church because you just don’t know them or the guys who come to your church and you don’t think they should be coming anyway. That person who goes to that other church and not yours or the guys who are of a different tribe or clan but are Christian and so you don’t think you have a responsibility to either. Sorry but you do.
The reality of this came to life for me like a week or two later after this. A story for another day, more like over a cup of coffee… No no, a milkshake. You know He is so intentional about LOVE that He constantly talks about love and what love is. Let’s start with the fact that God is Love. Now take a minute and just think about all the scriptures you can think of in the Bible that talks about love… You probably came up with five or more from the top of your head.
1 John 4:21 says that He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers. Here is the thing like I said it is no fuzzy feeling but just as He is intentional about Love, LOVE is an intentional act to do all of the following; be patient, be kind, not seek to always have your way, be selfless, be generous, not hold grudges, not envy, not give up, be gracious and kind in speech, encourage each other, appreciate the others Colossians 3:8-9 get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other… Pray for one another. By the way, this list is pretty much far from the end. Bottom-line is, you should always ask yourself how would you feel if someone else is doing what you are doing to them Luke 6:31.
What am I saying? You can declare your love for other people all you want but it’s your actions that express Love best. I have learned that there is nothing the Lord ever asks of us that is easy to do. Why because we are human and are sinful in nature, a lot of us is fleshly; selfish/ self-centered, only meant to please us. Everything He asks us to do is for our benefit and He enables anyone who asks and desires to live in obedience, to do so. When you have experienced the love of our Father in Heaven then it becomes easier to give of the same. Ask Him to flood your heart with His love that it may overflow. Here are a few things I encourage us to do though;
- Say hello to people before you seek to ask or address an issue
- Be polite when people talk to you
- Don’t be too quick to respond harshly in the heat of confrontation
- Appreciate people around you by saying Thank you
- Encourage others in the Lord by sharing your testimonies
- Do what the Lord would have you do for others
Like we agreed love is about actions, not a verbal declaration and with that said, train yourself to do simple acts of love and as you grow in love (and in the LORD God) so will you be a better reflection of Christs Love for this world. Let’s go out and love people there is too much absence of it (hate) in this world.