As this series draws to a close in this post I can say it is the perfect closing to the year for me. I feel I can finish strong. I know that this theme has taught and served me well, but more importantly that these verses bring so much glory to the name of Christ. And I am so thankful that I have had the chance to share them and my thoughts with you. I pray that as we all enter this Advent season, we will see Jesus as our Hope, Light, Peace, Joy and most importantly our Love.
Paul tells us that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (vs.6). Jesus dined with sinners and sought them out to heal and save them, but he did not rejoice in their wrongdoings. He rejoiced in the truth. He rejoiced when a woman had the faith to reach out and touch just the fringe of his garment as he passed by and he healed her (Matthew 9:20). He marveled and rejoiced at the faith of the Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his beloved servant with just word while still traveling. He rejoiced as the woman poured alabaster on his feet and wiped them with her own tears and hair, kissing them.
“Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:44-48)
He knew the truth was that they all had faith in Him and that they recognized him as the Christ. As we navigate our lives abiding in His Love, we need to remember to rejoice in this truth and seek out others who need his love. Speak it into the lives of your husbands and children, your neighbors, even your enemies.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.(Ephesians 4:15-16)
Now, let us look closely at the last 5 attributes that Paul gives to his personified “love”in verses 7 and 8.
Love bears all things. ~ Bearing the weight of suffering, sickness, tribulation, loss, grief, and temptation does not have to be done alone. Love bears it all. His love is enough to carry you through. For he says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Love is also finding genuine joy when the truth prevails in someone else’s life.
Love believes all things. ~ Jesus does not hold our sin against us. Once we believe and call him Lord, we are forgiven and are clothed in his righteousness. This is a hard thing to grasp in our minds. We are forgiven. So as Christians, we are called to love others, forgive others their trespasses and not to count up their wrongs in resentment. Believing the best in others can be hard as we pick out faults and areas that we believe they need improvement and growth, but that is between them and the Lord. Love them, trust them and believe the best in them.
Love hopes all things. ~ Our God is the God of hope. (Romans 15:13) And we have every reason to hope in him. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24) Having and understanding the hope we have in Christ aids us in our calling to love others. Regardless of one’s faults, we know that there is hope for them in every circumstance in Christ.
Love endures all things. ~ The trials of this life can threaten our relationships with others. Loving others the way Christ loves us takes endurance. But fear not! We have our strength in HIM! By the power of the Holy Spirit grace upon grace is poured out bringing peace, hope, and love. We can endure, because of his love for us. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, ESV)
Love never ends. ~ Paul compares love to the spiritual gifts of prophecy, knowledge and languages which the Corinthians highly valued. Those things will all pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) Love in all its glory is divine. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4 :15-16). Love will outlast all, even the sins and failures of our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Love characterizes the life of a believer. Enabled by the Holy Spirit, we are to live out love in all we think, say, and do.
So my sweet sisters and brothers in Christ, Abide in His Love.