Part 2 - Loving People
A good friend often says in jest, "I understand loving a perfect God. It's loving imperfect people that makes no sense!"
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward another, and toward all" (I Thessalonians 3:12).
Apart from the reality of the Biblical God and His Word, the notion of loving "all" would be foolish nonsense. First, we would have no capacity to even attempt such devotion to others. "Without Me ye can do nothing" declared the Lord Jesus, a statement we can be sure refers to love more than anything else (John 15:5). Nor would we have a proper understanding of love as God defines it. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9). Indeed, we require both enabling and insight from above in knowing how to love God and people in truth, and in a manner that truly blesses Him and others.
Regarding people, every honest heart surely recognizes our need for the Lord's involved leadership. Loving even those dearest to us challenges us beyond our human capacities as we define love according to the only accurate definition, namely, God's definition. He alone knows the hearts of our loved ones and their truest need. Our desire to properly love our family, friends, and fellow believers requires the imparting of Divine wisdom to our devotion. Moreover, our Heavenly Father alone can empower our capacity to love family, friends, and fellow believers in those times when they ruffle our feathers. No one can irritate, disappoint, and challenge us like those nearest to us. Their attitudes, actions (and inactions) matter so much to us. Thus, loving our loved ones in a genuine and consistent manner requires God's own love as the guiding and empowering influence of our commitment.
Our Lord also calls us to "Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). No command of Scripture more drives us to the knees of our heart. Upon this holy ground of love, every human being must take our shoes off because we possess no capacity to walk by ourselves. God alone possesses the inherent capacity to love enemies, as so wondrously revealed on the cross of Calvary. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10). Only His presence within us can motivate and empower our response of love for those who "curse… hate… and despitefully you and persecute you." We must trust our Lord accordingly, and love our foes as the manifested expression of His indwelling love within our hearts. "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22).
Most people sense that love comprises the very heart of our existence. Many, however, do not know the Source and Sustenance of love as it exists in God Himself. "God is love" (I John 4:8). Christians are blessed to realize this truth of all truths, and even more blessed to avail ourselves of the love, the love of God, that indwells our hearts whereby relationship with our Lord and with people becomes the primary theme of our existence…
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
Weekly Memory Verse
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward another, and toward all."
(I Thessalonians 3:12)