Don’t you feel like there’s an easiness when we read something like this in the Word : “love others.” ?
And we think of a mass blanket of worldly faces spread across the globe. We think of strangers and cashiers. We think of nationalities and homeless shelters. We are happy and contented to love all of the others out there, somewhere. We think, we could do it. We could extend open arms and warm hearts and smiling grins to all of those people.
And then we walk from our quiet-time seclusion into the chaos of our kitchen, snap at our spouse and ignore the chubby arms outstretched in anticipation toward us from our child
…. and we haven’t loved anybody at all very well at all.
Those are your others. Your spouse. Your precious children. Those who you call friends. Those who you call fellow ministry workers. Those who you call church family. The people who you can reach out and touch. The ones who’s faces and hands you know so well. Names and lives and hearts occupy ‘others.’
And if there’s anything I want to do while I am sitting and abiding in Christ during this life is love others.
Oh let me tell you – and please don’t let this shock you. Scripture tells you better. I am awful at it. At loving others. I may be worse than you; reading the word ‘love others’ and instead of thinking of a sea of unknown faces, I just don’t think about it at all. Heart of stone, that’s what it’s called.
Oh God! Let me sit and sink into and be turned from stone to flesh, from death to life, from hate and apathy to love.
So if there’s any way at all by the power of the Holy Spirit, because of the resurrection of Christ from the grave, and because of the wonderful loving Creator God who made me in His image, and there is a way! in Christ, may I love others, Lord.
My brothers and sisters.
My extended family, God bless them.
My bible study girls.
My church family.
Lord, these are hearts You love. These are hearts You lived and died and rose again for. As I’m in You, may I love them so well. So happily. May this be my response to You, to love others in Your Name.
Do you know how this can happen in me, whose naturally awful at it? Read famous love chapter this way :
Christ, who is Love, is patient
and Christ is kind
Christ does not envy or boast
Christ is not arrogant or rude.
Christ, who is Love, does not insist on its own way
Christ is not irritable or resentful
Christ does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Christ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and Christ endures all things.
Christ never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13 ESV)
Isn’t that overwhelming!? So wonderful!?
It is only Christ in me, Christ in you, who is Love, who can impart love to us, who can instill love for others in us. Isn’t that excitingly encouraging in the face of our own massive failings in living out this love when reality hits us in the face the minute we step out of our quiet times? (Shoot, when we have a hard time IN our quiet time with the Lord.)
I have HOPE in Christ who is LOVE that I can and will and have the FREEDOM to respond in LOVE to my husband, to my baby boy with outstretched arms, to the long list of people that the Lord has gifted my life with.
CHRIST IS MY HOPE.
CHRIST IS LOVE.
So with Christ, who is Love, dwelling inside of us and instilling His character in us, let us, love one another, for love is from God. (1 John 4:7 ESV)