Friday, July 8, 2011

The Walk part 4: Living in Love

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12

Today’s Reading: Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4

It’s all about love.

This is a point that I think gets forgotten, not only by folks who observe Christians from the outside, but also by us folk who call ourselves Christians.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us…”

This is the love that made it all possible. The eternal and infinitely powerful love of God is what transcends all of our faults and shortcomings and allows us to have a relationship with God. When we decide to love God then this love from Him transforms our hearts. It makes it possible for us to love each other.

Let’s keep it real. Some of y’all are hard to love… That sounds rough but it’s true. I know that I have been hard to love in certain times in my life. We tend to choose who and when to love based upon how that other person has treated us. We are much more inclined to treat others they way they have treated us then to treat them the way that we want to be treated.

But this whole Jesus thing flips it on its head. He challenges us to love others, not because they love us, but because God loves us. It is that original love that created us in the first place. It is what sustains us every single day. So if God loves us and we say that we love God then we aught to love all of God’s creation right?

That’s the challenge of this walk. We are challenged to live and love by God’s standards, not by the world’s standards, or by what we think people deserve, or by how they make us feel. If we were to live by our emotions and thoughts then why would we ever love someone else? After all, the people in your life are guaranteed to hurt you at some point because no one is perfect. It would make more sense to keep everyone at arm’s distance to protect ourselves from this inevitability.

But no, we must love.

We must instead grab everyone within our reach and bring them in. We must love them to the best of our ability. If they do not want to receive our love, then that’s ok; we can love them from where they are. But, in the end we must love.

As the passage above says “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

When we do our best to love we are opening ourselves to allowing God to live and flow through us. Then other people can see the truth of what we believe. That truth is not in words or labels; it is in the actions and life of a loving spirit.

Do you love? If you do, then God lives within you. The more that you love; the closer you are to God.

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