Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Virtue of Love

Sorry to take so long getting to the final post on the virtue of love. I have been fighting a terrible cold the last week and it took me out. I am back though, voiceless and still coughing but feeling better than I have been. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. Let's get back to our study shall we?

Love is..........

I still remember the cute little cartoons that were so popular in the 70's. Opps, showing my age aren't I. I loved those cartoons. Just about anything was described as an expression of love.

But did they really explain what love is?

The dictionary describes love as a deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons.

I believe the bible says it best in I Corinthians 13:4-8:

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Go back and re-read this scripture again slowly, asking yourself, “Is my love for God these things?" Then I would urge you to read it once again and ask yourself "do I love myself this way?" For one last time read it this time asking yourself "do I love others like this?"

If your answer is no to any of these questions, you have a request to make of God in prayer. That request would be "change me to love like this Lord". We can never love as perfectly as this scriptures picture of love shows us but we certainly can strive for it. Even though we do not have the ability to change our heart to love like this, God does. He will begin to change us if we ask.

Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.

Matthew 22:37-40 - Jesus said to him " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind' "This is the first and great commandment." "And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

I John 3:16 - By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We are told to that the two main commandments that we must focus on are to do with love. Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to love God with everything we have using the description of love in I Corinthians 13. Then we are to love ourselves so we can love others the same way. So many Christians get the love God part. "I Love God with everything I have" they claim. But they are consumed with self loathing or pride. We are to have a love for ourselves the way that God loves us, because of who He is not because of who we are in our flesh. Until we get this part we can not move on to the next and truly love others as God would love them.

Do you Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you truly love yourself as God loves you? Do you love others as yourself? Sacrificially? Are you willing to lay down your life for them? Do you love your enemy? Do you pray for those that hurt you or do you curse them? Gives a lot to consider doesn't it?

Proverbs 10:12 - tells us that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sin. If so then it is love that must change us to be more like the image of Christ. That is the end goal for us, to be more like Christ who embodied perfect love. He was the one that laid down His life for us because of his love even though we did not deserve it. I suppose when we think of his sacrifice for us, an unworthy lot as we were, it should make it easier for us to show mercy to others.

Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

Romans 12:9 - Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

We have been shown what love looks like by our Savior as He walked here on this earth. It is written down for us to show us the way. We are to walk humbly in His footsteps, showing mercy to others as He has. We can not do that without true love for others in our hearts. That love can only come from an infusion of the Spirit, changing us from what is hypocrisy to true love. It starts with honesty before God. So we pray……

Lord,

I can not love the way you do. Change me to love your way. Fill me with your love so it can pour out of me to others. I am so far from what love should be but with your help I can do all things. So I place my trust in you to change me.

Amen.

4 comments:

TawanaB said...

Great blog and great lesson. One of the hardest things to do is love ourselves and the other is to love our enemies. I am constantly asking God to change my heart. He helps me to forgive but I must learn to forget also because remembering brings up some of those feelings and I have to ask him again to help me be sure I have forgiven. Again thanks for a great blog. God bless.

Omah's Helping Hands said...

Amen! Great post Sherri. Very important lesson for all to remember.
Hope you are feeling much better. That virus bug going around has really gotten ahold of a lot of people. Am glad to hear you are on the mend. Will keep you in my prayers.

Beth in NC said...

I'm glad you are starting to feel better. Poor thing!

What a great reminder of what love is all about. I pray these scriptures wouldn't be just head knowledge, but sink deep into our hearts. There often seems to be a disconnect there.

Many blessings,
Beth

Sherri Watt said...

Thanks everyone for you prayers during my being down and out. I am blessed to be a part of a community like our blog world.

God Bless!