1Corinthians 13:1-13 tells us what love really is; that no matter what else we might do to or for people, if we do not have love for them then we gain nothing. For any Christian, love is the epitome of perfection in his or her life because without it, we cannot be able to live and tolerate one another's views, differences and beliefs. Verse 13 tells us that although faith and hope are just as important, love remains the greatest of the three.
Love is patient and kind and does not boast. When we are envious, boastful arrogant, rude or resentful, we are certainly not walking in the love of Christ. When we are down and out, we quickly see who really loves us because this is the best time that we can experience the real manifestation of people's love in our lives. As a matter of fact, we too can measure our threshold to love in the way that we treat the outcasts in our midst.
Recently I got a most revealing revelation of love; that it has to be practical and not just emotional. It is one thing to worship God and repeatedly tell Him in tears of awe and reverence how much we love Him. But it is quite another thing to practically communicate this. If we are not being practical about it, if we are not sharing our food with the hungry, counseling the depressed, comforting the ailing and lonely, then we fall short of the lessons that Christ taught us about love. As we mature in Christianity, we realize that God requires more and more of us with each transition, that we may get practical in our worship of Him. Christ went out of His way to feed the hungry before He continued giving them the Word. Are we cushioning ourselves from the pain of the world by refusing to see what is around us yet we are capable of bringing changes to people's lives? The practicality of love is seen on our generosity and willingness to go beyond mere words. A wise rejoinder from a Hollywood actor is that we are only alive to the extent that we can help out.
It is indisputable that people are difficult. Pastors for instance have to shepherd flocks with all manner of characteristic traits. Some will be convinced that the pastor will never do anything right but he must stand firm and do what he has to do anyway. As Christians we may even doubt our own talents but we must pursue the dreams that we have in our hearts because it is the Creator who has implanted them for us to reach for them. However, God lives in us even when we do not perform or when we do not merit His love. We will face many challenges in life but the main thing to remember is that Jesus loves us regardless of who we are or how much we may have messed up. Interestingly however, it is one thing to be loved and quite another to possess this love. Christ must be acknowledged and his love possessed in salvation for it to make sense to us and to our lives.
Love is powerful. It mends broken hearts and restores relationships; it forgives and brings healing. Love restores those who go astray such as those who have fallen into adultery or other vices; it reconciles families and communities in conflicts. Love builds up and does not tear down. It commits to the highest values of honesty, accountability, faithfulness and openness.
Love is patient and kind. It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Practical love is expressed in how we extend ourselves. This is what real love is.
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May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.