As is always the case, thoughts are swirling around in my mind this morning as I begin my week. The past days I’ve thought so much about the love of God and the command that we are given to love Him and to love one another and how, when we do this, we are walking in Him for surely we cannot love as He commands apart from the gift of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, wrote to the people in Thessolanica, “…the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
As I read the scriptures and look honestly at my own heart, words, and behaviors, I often find where I’m lacking is in this very thing called love. If only I would stop and ask before I speak, “is this a loving thing to say to or about…?” or before I act, “am I allowing the love of God to abound through me to this person?” OH how I fall short, but I must continue to open my eyes and ears right along with my heart to the words of the Lord or I will continue to fail and with each failure I forfeit an opportunity to encourage, to help, to comfort, to build up another.
Paul again in Philippians 1:9-10 is found saying to the people, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in judgement; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ;” Paul and the other disciples had a passionate desire for the good of the people and for the glory of God to be revealed. Without love for God and for “all men,” they would not have persevered and endured the suffering and hardships they readily endured.
When teaching those precious students I’m blessed to meet with each week, I can honestly say I feel a desire and a burden for their lives that is born out of nothing less than love. Oh if I could teach them so that they might know to resist sin, to seek truth and righteousness, to find the good path and to walk therein, that would be my joy and to the glory of God!
I’ve failed in my life so many times, so painfully, so woefully that in my soul I long to see others avoid such pitfalls, to live in such a way that they may be unashamed and know they are fulfilling God’s call on their lives, the call to love and to walk in righteousness before HIm.
Oh how precious and gracious is the Lord, that even one like me He would be mindful of, and have great and tender mercies toward. He is truly The Redeemer! He longs to bless and to heal, to cleanse and make new, if only we will turn from sin into His loving embrace.
I often think of the scripture in Isaiah, chapter 63, verse 9. It tells us that “In all their affliction, He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” We know that because of the sin of man God mourned. I so often think of the sorrow I feel each time I look to my own sin and know that I, too, have caused my precious Lord to mourn, but I am forever and overwhelmingly grateful for His everlasting love, for the mercy He continues to show not only to me, but to all of creation out of His abounding love.
As I face yet another morning, I purpose to look to Him, to lean on HIm, and to abide in His truth that I may walk in this love that He has for me and give it freely to those He places in my path. If not for His precious mercy, His grace, and redeeming love, I, like all others would be forever lost.
May we all ask ourselves the simple question as we engage those around us, “is this word or deed born out of love that I may fulfill the command given me so that God will be honored and I may be unashamed?”