"...but the greatest of these is LOVE."
1 Corinthians 13:13
Jesus gave us the definition of LOVE in 1 Corinthians 13, although not many of us could see ourselves in that definition. As believers, we are to seek to grow in love...not that we have obtained it as Paul said, but that we press forward in our upward call to LOVE as JESUS loved. This is not an easy task and becomes obvious when we insert our name in 1 Corinthians 13 in the place of the word LOVE. It's then, that we discover that we aren't really as loving as we thought. When Jesus is our standard of love we see love as it was intended to be...perfect, complete and lacking nothing. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we naturally grow in the area of LOVE also. We become more patient and kind, more humble and polite, more others minded and less us minded, more holy, more truthful, we have more faith, more hope and more endurance. Instead of inserting just my name...it would be more appropriate if I inserted my name and the word "more". Then, it would read; "Michelle is "more" patient and kind...and so on...understanding the fact that we're all under construction helps us to be patient with the work that God is doing in us...knowing that He has begun a good work in us and promises to see it though to the end. But, how is this accomplished...how do I grow more in the area LOVE? I want to love my spouse more, my kids more, my family more, my neighbors, and co-workers and others more, but I'm in this flesh and at war daily with it! How do I win, you might say?
There is hope! Praise God...there's hope! We don't have to settle for half- hearted love, complacent love or hypocritical love. We can have real genuine love...love that come straight from Jesus. But, it does cost. It's costs your pride, it costs your time, it costs your flesh...to love as Jesus loved requires death. For God demonstrated what real love truly looks like when He sent His only Son to the earth to die for us. Real love takes death. The more you die the better! Paul said in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." The more we die to our flesh the less we recognize the old person and the more we look like a new creature in Christ. Because we have seen what real love looks like, we have a model that we are to strive for. As we die to our flesh and begin to abide in faith and hope, love is the natural byproduct. We are to live, dwell and remain in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, and in service...and the more we live there in that place... the more we become like Jesus...who is the definition of love. Will we ever attain perfect love? No...not while we are here on earth, but we are to seek to be more like Jesus in the area of love while we are here...until we see Him face to face, then we will be perfected. Until then...we can remember a little acronym for
LOVE to better help us ...
L...less of me
May the Lord fill us with His Spirit and empower us to love as He loved!