Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Love is....

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails...And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."(1)  

The first several verses clearly state that if I do not love, or behave in a loving way, all the other things I do "for Christ" are basically worthless.  That is a pretty powerful statement.  I could fool myself into thinking I am loving until I look at the description God Himself gives.  I have to ask myself: Am I patient?  Am I kind?  Do I envy what others have or what they don't have, or how they look?  Do I boast or think more highly of myself that I ought?  Am I proud, or think I am better than others?  Am I ever rude?  Do I think more about my best interests or the interests of others?   Do I get frustrated or irritated (just other words for angry) easily?  Do I keep track of the wrongs done to me or hold grudges?  Do I delight in another's sin, or allow evil into my house via TV, internet, books, magazines, conversation, etc?  Do I rejoice in the Truth of God's Word?  Do I bear others' burdens?  Do I trust  God in spite of...?  Do I always continue to hope?  Do I choose to keep on, keeping on?  
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"(2) (Why is it that it seems easier to love our neighbor than it is to love our own family members?)

"In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteous is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother."(3) 

"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."(4)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, the we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but the He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."(5)

"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him; that he who loves God must love his brother also."(6)

1 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8,13
2 Matthew 22:37-40
3 1 John 3:10-11
4 1 John 3:18
5 1 John 4:7-11,
6 1 John 4:20-21

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