Theme for April – Love
-Reagan Holland - Amazing Grace Is it true for me as a Christian that “God is love?” If so, certain questions arise: Why do I ever grumble and show discontent and resentment because of the circumstances in which God has placed me? Why am I ever distrustful or fearful? Why do I ever allow myself to grow cool, formal, and half-hearted in the service of the God who loves me so? Why do I ever allow my loyalties to be divided, so that God does not have all of my heart? John wrote, “God is love” in order to make an ethical point. “Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). Could an observer learn from the quality and degree of love that I show to others? To my wife? To my husband? To my family? To my neighbors? To people at church? To people at work? Could they learn from me anything at all about the greatness of God’s love? Meditate upon these things, and let us all examine ourselves. -Bo Gray -GOD IS LOVE In the English language we use the word love to describe all types of feelings. We may say that we love chocolate, pets, cars, etc. We also use the word to describe our feelings for other people, even though our feelings for them vary. Our love for our spouse, our children, our grandchildren, our siblings, our brothers and sisters in Christ are all different. Our feelings toward each group are different, so what does the Bible mean when we are told to love? In 1 John 4:7-21 John talks about God’s love and our love. He begins by telling us that love comes from God, and twice in the reading he tells us that “God is love.” So to understand the love that God wants us to have for each other, we need to look at God who is love. How much does God love us? In the beginning God gave all His creation to man, and even when man sinned, he continued to bless him. When Adam and Eve sinned, God made garments for them even though they disobeyed His command. This was just the beginning of God showing his love for mankind. Even though we have always sinned and have not been pleasing to God He continues to bless us to the extent that He sent His son to earth to become the perfect sacrifice that was required for remission of our sins. I urge all of us to pattern our love after God’s love by being constant, forgiving, and sacrificial in all of our relationships. -Jack Vanderpool -THIS IS MY TASK In the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the word “love” and its related term “heart” are used 1,121 times. Only the words God, Father, and Lord are used more. I read of an author who wrote comments on each verse where “love” is mentioned and eventually wrote a 475-page book. There should be no question that “love” is the keystone of God’s plan for our lives and our salvation. However, just reading about “love” will not change anything. Action is required for us to be transformed by the Word to make “love” radiate from our lives and touch those around us. How would each day be different if we focused on how we demonstrate genuine “love” for our family members, coworkers, friends, and even strangers we meet? I think that one of the many things that would change is likely that we listen more and talk less. To quote my good friend Brian Ream: “Be happy with those who have succeeded in life, in work, in relationships, in conquering challenges and trials. Today, let people know you love and appreciate them. Let people know you notice them, especially those whom society tries to make disappear or seem unimportant. Today, don't miss a chance to say thank you, to be kind and courteous. Today, be the person you know you should be.”
-Phil Robertson -THIS IS MY TASK
Romans 12: 9 begins a discussion of Love as a characteristic of a Christian and child of God. Love is a popular subject in the modern world and is predominately characterized as an emotion. Not only do I “love” my current heart throb, I also “love” the Braves, ice cream, and my pickup truck. “Love” has become diluted, trivialized, and dependent on my mood. Is this what God really has in mind for me?
Love is a command. Leviticus 19:18 tells me to “love my neighbor as myself” and Matthew 5:44 clearly tells me to “love my enemies and pray for those that persecute me.” Neither of these passages make an allowance for my mood or opinion regarding either of these individuals. These passages do describe what my mood and opinion is expected to be in my relationship with these people. These are commands that require me to train and discipline my temperament in order to be pleasing to God.
Love is also a duty. John 15:12-14 expands on love as a command and requires us to make our relationships with others a way of life. 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Galatians 5:13 identifies love as the foundation of the way I am to live. Clearly this compels me to commit all my energy to serving others in order to serve God.
Much of the remainder of Romans 12 clarifies the loving heart and behavior I am to develop. These motivations and behaviors are meant to grow and strengthen throughout our Christian walk. As the old hymn says, “This crowns my task.”