“…whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (ESV)
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (ESV)
I am concerned about the church and her love walk. Much of our church activity is based on (if we get honest with ourselves) self-love. It has more to do with what “I” want and what is in it for “me”. People love, but with conditions. They serve, til it’s something they don’t want to do or as long as they have control of what they are doing or others do what they want. People love as long as they are getting something they want in return.
Before you get bothered about me expecting too much from young or new believers, please understand. The concerns I have are about those who call themselves mature disciples. These are leaders and people who have walked with Jesus a long time. Remember, Jesus had problems with religious people.
Now, in John 15 there are several things Paul said we should be abiding in and one of those was love. I John 4:8 tell us that “God is love.” So if we are abiding in Him and in love we should be bearing fruit – the fruit of love. This is not the kind of love that we see even on the world’s best day. It’s a love on a much higher level. God is our standard for love. This love is so hard that we cannot do it without God’s help. If we don’t abide in Him, we cannot love. If we don’t love, we are not abiding in Him.
We have all been abandoned by what we thought was love with people. This is why love was meant to be first received from God and then given away. If we look for the love of people to satisfy us before finding our security in God’s love first, we will be left wanting and hurting or become unstable and abusive in our relationships.
How should we love?
Love bears all things. The Greek translation for “bear” means to roof over or cover in silence, to endure patiently. I doesn’t mean you can maul people to death or act like a bear. It also doesn’t mean developing a callous heart but rather a covering of grace. No matter what comes against you love still remains. It covers over any situation with love and does so with no expectation for self without saying anything or justifying yourself.
Love believes all things. This does not mean that we believe everything we hear about people or situations. But, it means believing the best about people and situations. Our love is not dependant on what we know about people or thing but rather on God himself. Because He is love, we believe all things about Him and therefore respond in love to all things. If we truly know God we have no choice but to always respond in love to people. See what I mean by this being impossible without Him. It’s a higher love.
Love hopes all things. Hope here means to expect and trust with confidence and pleasure. This is not an expectation from people but from God as it relates to people and things. It means we love with an expectation and trust in God that all things are going to be according to His will and purpose. The hope is in Him so we are to freely give all our love to people even when they are not doing what we think they ought to do. Dependency on Jesus frees us to fully love.
Love endures all things. This means love is behind and under all things. It suffers all things. God’s love can handle anything. It has no limits.
Love never fails. Every where our love fails, it was not God’s love. We fail to love when we are not abiding in Him. We fail to love when we seek something for ourselves.
“God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” John Piper
If we are satisfied in God, if He is all I need in every situation then He will be glorified in and through me and my life. If I seek satisfaction in any other thing than Him alone, then I will glorify myself.
So, How’s your love walk?