"The Inextricable Union"
Scripture inextricably unites love for God and love for people.
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (I John 4:20-21).
Loving people proceeds from loving God as the holy fruit of His life within us. Loving people confirms the reality of our Lord's indwelling presence. He leads us to love those whom He loves. Indeed, when tempted to bitterness, animosity, or even hatred toward another human being, we do well to look, as it were, into the face of our Heavenly Father. There we will see His attitude of grace, mercy, and good will, and there we will be "changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). Our capacity to love as God loves begins with the recognition of His inclination, proceeds to the Holy Spirit's enabling of the same disposition in us, and culminates in the capacity for self sacrificial devotion to others that confirms "God is in you of a truth" (I Corinthians 14:25).
The figurative look into our Heavenly Father's face referenced actually involves love for Him. Seeking Him when we have relationship problems with people is not our natural inclination. Dissension is the default position of our flesh. It is much easier to stew in our juices then to seek God's enabling for the oil of the Spirit to flow through us in grace and mercy. He calls us to seek His help, and the obedience of actually doing so comprises our response of loving devotion to our Father. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Thereby He leads us in devotion to those we would otherwise reject and perhaps even despise. Again, this reveals both the fruit of the Spirit that through us blesses others with the love of God, and the tangible verification of our Lord's working in us that graces our hearts with peace. He would have us to "know the love of Christ" in a manner that pleases Him, and serves as mutual benefit for others and ourselves (Ephesians 3:19).
Loving God. Loving people. The same tree bears both branches, namely, the Lord Jesus who declared Himself to be "the true Vine" (John 15:1). We are His branches upon which the Holy Spirit bears in us the beautiful fruits of devotion to the Divine and the human. Let us realize the inextricable union of looking to our Lord in love, and then coming forth from Him to love those whom He loves, to love people.
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him."
(I John 3:18-19)
Weekly Memory Verse
O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.