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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shine in Love

There are many places in the Bible that talk about love, most have heard the “Love Chapter” in the Bible       (1 Corinthians chapter 13).  In it we are told the characteristics of love…Love is patient and kind, it is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude.  It is not selfish or irritable and keeps no records of wrongs committed against it.  Love rejoices in the truth, perseveres through difficulties, remains hopeful, doesn’t lose faith and endures all things.   

These are not characteristics that come naturally, they must be cultivated.  Unfortunately our society does not place much importance on these attributes.  Many will say they value the character traits listed above, but living those traits is more difficult to achieve.  As a whole society is moving farther away from the characteristics required to love others and embracing those for love of self (greed, pride, envy, lust, etc.).  

The ultimate example of how love should behave can be found in 1 Peter 2:22-23 “Who committed no sin, nor was guile [deceit] found in His [Jesus’] mouth.  Who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”

WOW…That is love!  Not just that he died for our sins (though that is amazing), it is that He was innocent of the crimes He was being charged with!!  Take a moment to grasp that…WE are guilty…He was innocent!

Because of love He died while innocent of the crimes He was accused of.  He not only died, he did so with honor, in humility, in kindness, trusting in His Father, keeping His eyes focused on the goal and not the circumstances.  That is the essence of love and that is how we are to be.  

When people treat us badly our first reaction is often to retaliate, but that is not how we should act.  As Christians we should swallow our pride and remember who we represent…Christ.  Christ would not want us to retaliate but to bless, to greet disrespect with respect, rudeness with kindness, jealousy with meekness, arrogance with humility and so on.  

Love is not about being right all the time, it is not about having the final say…it’s about accepting we all have faults, it’s about respecting others and keeping our focus heavenward instead of on the world.  It’s about controlling our emotions instead of letting our emotions control us.  

Think about all the power Christ has, He could have easily given in to the taunting and showed everyone ‘who is boss’, but He didn’t.  He knew that wasn’t acting in our best interest…He knew that wasn’t acting in love.  Love over looks circumstances and sees the beauty within.  

Today there are multiple paths to travel and most are crooked.  God remains the only straight path and His word is truth and life and love.  His way is freedom and peace.  This world is tricky and full of guile/deceit, it is not easy to love in the face of such adversity.  It is difficult sometimes to love those who love us, how much harder is it to love the unlovable?  But that is what we, as Christians, are called to do.  

Matt 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”  

This world seems so dark for my little light to shine, but I must remember that it is not MY light; it is Gods’ LIGHT in me!!  It is not up to me to make the world see, it is my duty to simply shine.  Shine in Love.
I’m not sure how integrity became outdated in our society, but it is time we start replacing it…one light at a time!

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