Reblogged from Christian Living For Women…(Although the truth here is for both of the genders God created in His image, male and female, and if each are His, trulyreborn through Christ, then we are enabled to love as He loves. Hence, I am posting this for myself and for all of my sisters in Christ. May we never sully His name by living in disobedience to what He has called all who are His to live like. Regretfully, I have been slow in learning this lesson by having Him have to prune and prune and prune my own pride, while He is teaching me to care more for the state of others souls than for my own oft tender and easily hurt “feelings” in situations, and to care even more so, instead, about Him in them. No matter how hard those who are lost or even who are simply still very immature in their faith may try to make it so as to stumble us, thereby causing themselves to feel justified in the stumbling, we do not do it for anyone but our dear Lord Jesus out of love for Him and for His glory. The hard truth is, everything we (every living person, not just the reborn) do, we do as to the Lord. Meaning we do it to HIM. Double edged sword, that. May we wield it with biblical love, just as He does. ♥)~AGM†
Over the next few weeks, many will be celebrating “love” because of Valentine’s Day. The stores are full of gifts, candy, and cards that you can give to that special someone. That is fine, but it leads me to consider the topic of love more fully. In the Bible we are commanded to love others repeatedly.
“..you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~Mark 12:30-31
Yet when we most often ponder love it looks nothing like the love described in Scripture (Luke 6:35, Romans 13:10, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:2, 1 Peter 4:8, John 15:13 are just a few examples). We live in a world where romantic love is the ideal and we grow up saturated in the mentality that love is a feeling. The problem is that feelings come and go. Looking at divorce rates it is hard to deny that fact. In addition to marriage, we can see the lack of love all around us. That is because above all else, we love ourselves. We put our wants, our needs, and our feelings above the command to love. We have no problem loving others when it benefits us and when it makes us feel good. But what happens when love hurts? The common reaction is to withdraw and perhaps inflict a few wounds on the one who hurt us. As Christians we are called to a different kind of love and that love is often very hard. The love we are called to is sacrificial, not self serving. This love is also an action, not a feeling. We have to consciously make a choice to love those around us. It absolutely goes against our fallen nature to love those who are hurting us, persecuting us, or just consistently irritating us. But it is the love of God demonstrated to us that fuels our capacity to love others even when they don’t deserve it. We certainly do not deserve God’s love, yet He loved us enough to send His own Son to die for us. Jesus willingly laid down His life for ungrateful, disobedient, and rebellious people. As always, we are called to follow His example. Many times when we try to love others, we really struggle. One cause of this is a lack of understanding of what God truly did for us. If we think we are good people and can measure up to God’s perfect standard than we can also put requirements on other humans to earn our love. This thinking is a great error. None of us have earned God’s love. It is by grace alone that He saves us and we are only righteous because we are clothed in Christ’s perfection. When we truly start to understand this, we can than look on others with compassion and love. Since I am loved without earning it, than I should love others without them earning it. With the great love and mercy Jesus has shown us, we should seek to follow His example and love those around us in godly love. SDG!
Love as God defines love:
I John 4:7-21
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.