Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 … Forebearing Love

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1-2 [see bold/underlined portion] – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

My Journal for Today: Okay, my fellow Christian, … if you are coming along with me and you haven’t been challenged or charged by the studies of Ephesians 4: 1 – 3 this month, then you, if you are like me, will likely be convicted today. The phrase under the scope of truth today from the Apostle’s letter to the Ephesians is “… bearing with one another in love;” and we first look at the term “bearing with [NIV],” which is the Greek term, “anechomai,” which could be translated “forebearing” as well [seen in the KJV] or “showing tolerance for [as in the NASB].” And when one combines that concept with the object term “agape,” that is, “forebearing with one another in love [KJV],” we have one of the most challenge commands in scripture to walk in worthiness to our Lord’s example [remember the command that Christians are to have attitudes like Christ – Phil. 2: 5].

We certainly know that “agape” love is one of the pre-eminent characteristics of God (see John 3: 16); and it’s the kind of love that covers all sins (Prov. 10: 12 and 1st Peter 4: 8) …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Prov. 10: 12 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Peter 4: 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

And the word picture, Paul is using, “anechomai” paired with “agape,” is the idea of the Christian throwing a blanket (i.e., a covering) of God’s love over the sin we perceive or encounter when dealing with others. Another word picture would be like covering a fire with a thick blanket for as long as it takes to smother the flames. John MacArthur, from his devotional, Strength for Today, says, “[forebearing love] … is unconquerable benevolence and invincible goodness; (and) it is completely selfless.”

I don’t know about you; but that is one God-shaped challenge to ask us, in living up to Christ’s command, to die to self (or selfishness) and follow Him (see Luke 9: 23); but it’s exactly what Jesus taught (turning to Matt. 5: 43 – 45) …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Matt. 4: 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

And wrapped up in these word of Jesus on the Mount, we have an attitude (i.e., forebearing love) to which we should continually ascribe and achieve to bring ourselves into Christlikeness in a world on fire with hatred, desperately needing a blanket of God’s love.

Wow, this surrender and commitment to Christ is certainly no easy walk in the park; is it?

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to carry your blanket of love to put out fires when they erupt in my life. Amen

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