Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Love Wins

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Michael writes this week that as Christians we often struggle with doing the number one duty of a Christian ... loving God above all and loving our neighbor as ourselves. There are many different types of love. However, "agape" the Greek word for the spiritual love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, is a rare thing. Many people in our popular culture emphasize the importance of brotherly love, or "philio" in Greek, which is a natural affection for our friends and loved-ones.  Another type of love is "storge" the Greek word for "love of family." This is also a natural type of love independent of God's Holy Spirit. The highest form of love "agape" is "the spiritual divine unconditional love of God." To love with God's love, we must be born again of God's spirit, for our sinful nature of the flesh cannot love without the spirit of God, in Christ, in us.

1 Timothy 4:15 “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”

The context of the 1 Corinthians 13 passage was Paul's teaching about the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the abuse of the manifestations of the spirit. The manifestations of the spirit are to be operated in love. The Corinthian Christian church had no problems with the "doctrines of the faith."  However, they had a problem with loving their brothers and sisters within the body of Christ, especially if they were divided regarding the proper operation of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Believing action according to the Word of God must be motivated by love. If I gave everything to the poor and even if I gave myself to be martyred, without the love of God in the renewed mind, in manifestation, it would profit me nothing. All my worldly accomplishments and praise from people are of no value if not accomplished through the love of God. Everyone’s need is to be loved.  Would you rather be right or would you rather love and be loved?  When someone forces you to go the second mile, do you think that your human rights are being violated or would you gladly serve in love? We must die to our "human rights" in order to live and love unconditionally with the love of God. The Apostle Paul encouraged the church to live and love with no regrets. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.  Love thinks no is always eager to believe the best of others.  The key to growing in Christ is to focus on “living in and within the love of God”.

When you love those who don't love you, this is a manifestation of the love of God in the renewed mind. An act of love is to forgive and to set the prisoner free ... only to find that the prisoner was me. Like the martyrs throughout the history of the Church, the Apostle Paul said, "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain." The love of God is never offended when wronged by others. The key to overcoming evil with good is to love unconditionally.  Although this type of love is rare in the world, this is normal according to the spirit of life in Christ. 

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Contrary to popular opinion, the abundant life is lived by washing feet. This is the example Jesus Christ himself gave to his disciples. He who approaches God's throne of grace must do so with a humble and a contrite heart. The “Abundant life” is blessing them that persecute you, despitefully use you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for Christ's sake – Matthew 5:11. Jesus gave his disciples a new command, to love one another. He said all men shall know that you are my disciples if you love one another – John 13:35.

From a heart of love, the mouth speaks...therefore, “ Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer”- Psalm 19:14.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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