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Love Over All

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV

Jesus is telling us that loving one another is the definite sign, the sweetest fragrance, the most beautiful sound, the delightful flavor… of His disciples.

If the love He’s speaking of were the natural outflow of our lives, Jesus wouldn’t have said that it is the defining characteristic of His disciples.

That’s not to say that virtually each one has and expresses love. Most mothers and fathers, love their children, will spend whatever resources, time, energy, and influence for them, and would even give their own life for their offspring.

Most close friends will help or even forgive their friend as long as the cost doesn’t exceed their appraisal of the value of the friendship. “Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NIV).

Yet Jesus is speaking of a love and is taking it to a whole other level.

“If, while we were his enemies, Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through his living in us” (Romans 5:10).

“While we were his enemies,” Christ died for us to reconcile us to God. Really?! While we were His enemies, Christ died for us to reconcile us to God! How is this possible? What kind of love is this?! This is way beyond laying down one’s life for one’s friends. This is laying one’s life down for his enemies.  

Before he softened our stone-cold hearts and revealed both our fathomless need for him and his matchless love for us. We were hostile to the idea that we lacked whatever goodness or merit needed to be acceptable to God for his shower of blessings on our life and entrance into his eternal bliss when this life is over. In the midst of us being consumed in our foolishness and arrogance, God loved us.

Now, knowing of God’s love for us AND that he has given us everything that we need to do his will – 2 Peter 1:3, we are to love one another in this same way.

We are to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We are to forbear and forgive each other even as we have been forgiven by God. And over all this, we are to put on love. We are to love, not only those that love us, we are to love those that would struggle to love or that can sometimes make it difficult to love. This kind of love is the roll-up your sleeves, feet to the ground, with a determination to take on the hard work of love with the help of and through the power of the Holy Spirit. There are people that are so easy to love, they love first, their love covers a multitude of sins and they make it easy to love them. 

Love does not tear down or gossip behind closed doors. Love does build up and nurtures positive relationships with one another. Love builds up those we don’t agree with or understand. Love breaks down barriers. Love transcends personal biases. Love helps us to be whole and anchored in Christ and Christ alone. Love helps us to be focused on the well-being of others!

Loving all others requires a work and often a great work within ourselves. If someone is unlovable, it is not our job to fix them, our calling is to simply love them. Often the hard work is the work to do in our own hearts. To lay down our pride, humble ourselves before God and allow Him to love others through us. To study what His word says about love. To pray and then be obedient to allow Him to use us to bless and build up others for His glory!

Love, true love for others will never fail and it will not let us down if we live it out together.  We can say we don’t have the ability to love someone who has hurt us. WE DO! We do through Christ Jesus. We do through the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. When we have submitted the rule and reign in our lives fully and completely to the Holy Spirit, He will flow through us and His love will overflow out to others. His kind of love that loved us when we were still His enemy! Love will break down barriers when we humble ourselves.  Love never fails. It always brings peace, joy, contentment and glory to our Father in Heaven.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV).

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