In yesterday’s post – God is good – I shared how God had reminded me of His goodness, and that I was encouraging us all to keep this in mind as we enter into 2023. Keeping a conscious focus on God’s goodness will do wonders in our lives, and – I believe – will diffuse worry, amp up our prayer lives and enhance our joy. If God is in charge, and He is good, and He loves us deeply, then we can stand up against anything this world throws at us.
Another thing that God has reminded me of over the last few days is to be loving. In a way, it is kind of a shame that God had to bring this to my attention! Surely I should already be living and acting in a loving manner, right? Well yes, I do try… but in many respects I am quite an introvert and so effervescent acts of love and kindness do not always spring forth naturally from me. That is no excuse though, and I (and perhaps you too?) need to desire and discipline ourselves to act lovingly towards others.
Live the Love Life
The Bible reminds us that:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of #love, just as #Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to #God. Eph 5:1-2 #BibleTweet
God is not asking us to do anything He is not first doing Himself. We are to follow His example, learning from the way He loves us and applying it in our own lives. Jesus loved us by sacrifice. He gave up His own life and comfort so that you and I might go free. While, in most cases, you will not be expected to give up your life unto death, living the love life will require some kind of sacrifice. This is “dying to self…” and means that sometimes we go without so that others can go ahead of us.
Note the verse above instructs us to walk in love. This command is not a one-time thing. We do not love once, and tick the box. Instead it is something we do day-by-day, step-by-step. Walking in love rarely requires some grand gesture. It is often the frequent but smaller acts that really count. Bringing your spouse a hot drink, picking up the litter/garbage from the street on your daily walk, leaving a room in a better state than you entered it, or a simple note or text message of encouragement are all examples.
Put on love
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, #kindness, humility, gentleness and #patience Col 3:12 #Bible #JesusTweet
More wisdom from Paul here, and words I cannot hope to add to.
Notice once again that Paul points out that we are dearly loved children. God is not expecting us to give out what we have not first received. We love because we have been loved by God.
Compassion, humility, kindness, patience etc are all reminiscent of the Fruit of the Spirit, and are all subsets of love. If we want to know what love looks like, then it looks like these fruits. 1 Corinthians 13 is the famous passage on love, and clearly shows that love is… not rude, patient, kind, does not envy and so on. If you see these characteristics in your life, then you can be assured that you are living in a loving way.
Paul tells us to “put on love.” This is a definite action – a choice we make. This is the conscious choice I need to make each day and even each hour. A shirt won’t jump on my body all by itself, and so, similarly, neither will love. I must put it on intentionally.
Let each of us clothe ourselves with love and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let our love so shine forth in our homes, places of work, communities and churches that no one can doubt who we serve. Let us live love life for all to see.