Sorry I couldn’t post the series yesterday; was having a lil issue with the data. Would post tomorrow. So here’s today’s post by an awesome sister!
Loving in hateful times; Love in the life of a believer
Love is our mark as followers of Christ. Our God is love himself and the basis of our Christianity is love (John 3:16). Jesus rightly said the love of many will wax cold in the latter days. We are in the latter days and these are hateful times, there are killings and wars. However, the hatred in the world should not be a surprise to us (1 John 3:13), what should surprise us is the hatred among believers.
Hatred may seem like a strong word but it cuts across many areas, the backbiting, the strife, the jealousy, the envying, the malice, the unforgiveness, the gossiping that goes on in the church today. We are not of this world, we can’t walk in hatred as the people of the world do. We are called to live a life of love, it is the sum of the whole law. Our light shining in darkness is our love showing forth in the midst of the hatred.
‘Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’ Matt 22:37-40.
More than ever before, our love for God must not grow cold. He is still most important and the priority of our lives, the reason of our existence. If we don’t love God then we are not even expected to love others. So first ask yourself do I really love God? Is he really first in my life? Or is it just a profession many of us make with our mouths. Then how will you know if you really love God? Well you’ll keep his commandments, and the sum of the commandment he gave us is to love our neighbours. If you’re not loving your brother, then you are still in darkness. This really hits hard when you think about it. Just take time and read the following verses.
‘He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes’ 1 John 2:9-11 (1 John 3:11-24, 4:7-13, 16-21, 5:2-3).
We must first continue to increase in our love for God, and then grow in love for the brethren and also unbelievers. The more we love God, the more we love others. Loving others is an evidence of our love for God.
Loving our neighbours
Why do we have to love? It is the fulfilment of the law and the commandment of God, and it reflects our love for God. And then he said that if you love one another that shows we are his disciples.
‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another’ John 13:34-35.
What does it really mean to love? Jesus is talking about practical love, living out the love of God in our hearts. 1 Corinth 13 lists out the characteristics of love.
‘For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another’ Gal 5:14-15.
So why are we hating ourselves? Before we talk about loving those that are outside the church, let’s start within the church. How can we love those outside, when we can’t even love ourselves? A lot of this stems out from pride or selfishness in us. We feel we are better than the other person (we can sing better, we can lead the prayers better, we can preach better), we judge others wrongly, we seek vain glory (just to show how much of the bible we know or how great we can pray- if you examine your motives you would find that sometimes, the reason you did what you did or said what you said was just to show off), we select our friends in the church and ignore others, we say ‘it is well’ when we can offer practical help, we care about what concerns us but not others and all this breeds envy, jealousy, strife and malice. These are works of the flesh. The life of a Christian and the sign of maturity is the life of love. If we say we are Christians it should show in our actions of love.
‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.’ Gal 5:19-23 (16-26).
The early church was a great example of Christian love in the church of God, they were one, they had all things in common (Acts 2:44-47, 4:32, 34-35). It’s sad that in the church today there’s disunity and all other works of the flesh and it shouldn’t be that way. There were so many blessings attached to the oneness and unity of the early Christians and the church today is missing out on many of these blessings (Adding to the Church, the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, meeting the needs of poorer believers).
Just imagine if there was some form of discord among the believers on the day of Pentecost, they probably would not have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1).
If at all we don’t show love to anyone else, the body of believers should be different. Love should be us, our walk, our talk, our lifestyle. Not gossiping about each other, getting angry with each other, holding grudges against each other, getting jealous at the prosperity of other believers and the likes.
We would continue with the other part of this article next week. Stay tuned. In the meantime, please drop your thoughts on this topic below.
My name is Jumoke. I am a child of God, found and saved by God’s grace and unfailing mercy. I am learning and growing in God day by day and I happen to be a medical student also. I enjoy my time with God and listening to good music.