Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011 … Worthy Examples to the World

Passage of the Day: Hebrews 13: 1 [NIV] Keep on loving each other as brothers.

Hebrews 13: 1 – [NASB]Let love of the brethren continue.

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading this as a Christian, have you noticed that it’s not easy to follow the exhortation of today’s verse at times? And I don’t mean to insult your intelligence; but have you also noted that some people, including Christians, are eminently unlovable? Both Peter and Paul knew this when they penned these verses in their Epistles …

>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Peter 1: 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1st Thes. 4: 9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.

Both Apostles recognized that we, as Christians, can do more when it comes to receiving and developing the first fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5: 22), and that is love. It often [well, maybe ALWAYS] takes a concerted surrender to God’s Spirit, receiving what enabling grace He has to give us in terms of God’s love, to fulfill these challenges above … as well as Paul’s admonition in Phil. 2: 3-4

>>> SCRIPTURE: Phil. 2: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

And note, as we said in an earlier devotion during this month from 1Pet. 5: 6 [linked], it is HUMILITY that is the key to being able to express God’s love, especially when our sin nature would rather have us be self protective, selfish, or arrogant [i.e., prideful]. So often we think of and act on love as a feeling rather than realizing and living on the truth that love is a choice. And besides, humility is one of those choices we must activate from an attitude of surrender to God; and to say the least, that is not an easy thing for us from our humanity as creatures who’ve inherited our sin nature from Adam.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I declare strongly from my own testimony/witness, we cannot love others, showing our Christianity to the world, as Christ commanded [see below], without being surrendered in humility before God’s throne of grace. Only God’s grace gives us the ability to love the unlovable. Therefore, when we can and do express God’s love, especially to the unlovable … and the world sees that, many times not understanding it, they see Christ loving others through us. Again, see God’s commands from John 13: 34 – 45

>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st John 13: 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."

This loving business can be tough stuff for me, seemingly always tempted by my basic nature to withhold or to avoid loving others, especially those where such choices to love are risky. But I love my Lord; and He commands me to love others. Not only that, He gives me – by His grace - what I need in temptation to overcome my base nature [see 2nd Peter 1: 3 – 4]. It is also the promise of other passages from God’s truth, like 1Cor. 10: 13, 2nd Cor. 12: 9, and 2nd Tim. 1: 7 (check these out yourself and maybe even memorize them, if God so leads you).

So, we, as Christians, really have no excuse;… do we? And, … ouch! That hurts! … Perhaps today I ought to seek out someone in my life, … a Christian who’ve I’ve had trouble loving; and just choose to do something to show God’s love in some way. But will I? That’s the question.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to love when I want to leave. Amen

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