The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"To Live is Christ. To Love is Christ"
How shall we fulfill the two greatest commands of Scripture that call us to love God and others? "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:30-31).
The Lord Jesus Christ prayed accordingly, and then suffered, died, rose again, and returned to Heaven to send forth the Holy Spirit to dwell within us as the life and power of love.
"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
Can it possibly be that the Divine love which "passeth knowledge" now dwells within the hearts of all who believe? (Ephesians 3:19). Can it possibly not be, considering our Lord's request for such grace and the redemptive work He accomplished to provide it? Thus, born again believers must realize and affirm that the two great commands to love can be fulfilled through the very One who mandates that we walk accordingly. The great and foundational New Testament protocol we frequently consider in these messages - Christ lives in us so that we may live through Him - is amplified by an infinite measure when we realize that our Lord's love dwells in us so that we may love God and others through Him (Galatians 2:20; I John 4:9).
Long before the advent of the indwelling Holy Spirit, King David knew a measure of such grace. "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength!" (Psalm 18:1). David clearly realized that genuine devotion to God required the genuine enabling of God - "o Lord my strength." He also knew his role to freely devote his heart to God - "I will love thee." For born again believers in the Lord Jesus, who have received the indwelling love of God through the Holy Spirit, David's affirmation becomes far more pertinent and powerful. We can love God and others as His love moves within our hearts, empowering our human faculties and members to walk in self sacrificial devotion as "I will love Thee" unites with "I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 55:23).
No possibility exists for even the most godly believer to love apart from the Lord's involved presence and working. The standard of Divine love is far too high for human abilities to fulfill. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10). Let us ponder the immeasurable quality of such character long enough for it to cast us to our faces in wonder. Then, let us realize and affirm that same character as the dynamic empowering of grace whereby we arise to "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us" (Ephesians 5:2). Only thereby does such a life of self sacrificial devotion become possible and actual as the love of God for us and within us becomes the love of God ministered through us. "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14).
We love God and others through Christ. Our Lord redeemed us for such a glorious purpose, to be fulfilled through Him no less than His provision of forgiveness and assurance of eternal life. "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21). The most definitive meaning and definition of such an affirmation? To love is Christ. This is God's greatest gift, to make us like Himself in character, nature, and way by inhabiting us with Himself, indeed, by indwelling us with the Spirit of His love.
"God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
(I John 4:16)
Weekly Memory Verse
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
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