As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:10 NIV)
I Love You! Three words that everyone regardless of station in life, would love to hear everyday of their lives! Just imagine what it would be like to bask daily in such endearments. Life would be different. But then there is the opposite of Love, that ugly word; Hate. Now imagine these words repeated daily to someone; I Hate You… Whoever gets to hear these words over and over will eventually be deeply wounded. It is so unfortunate that at times we often repeat these harsh and hateful words to those we are supposed to love, yet the Lord’s command is to love one another. It may not necessarily be in words, but also in thoughts and actions that we express hatefulness to them. May the Lord help us to be obedient- ALWAYS!
LOVE is a message that is very close to God’s heart. Love is His centrality because God is Love! His very nature is love and he expresses this to us in John 3:16, when he gave us Jesus to die for our sins so that we may be saved! What a gift! No one testifies about God’s love more than John in the gospel and epistles of John. Indeed he tasted the Lord’s great love. The bible testifies that he was the disciple that the Lord loved. No wonder his message is about love. We should share the same often.
SO WHAT IS LOVE?
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 says:- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
In very few words this chapter on love is simply stating that: It is useless to be called a Christian yet you have hatred in you. Are you impatient? Un-kind?, Rude? Short fused? Slanderous? Do you have a black book somewhere in your heart to keep a record of those who have hurt you complete with bullet point-entries of exact deeds done to you? The list goes on and on. The bible here is clear as day; even though you may speak in all manner of tongues and even lay hands and the sick get well. Even though you pray in faith and mountains move. Even though you fast twice a week and tithe like clock work and yet have no LOVE; it all amounts to ZERO! Why you ask? Because God is Love and he requires no less from us, Only Love.
WHEN MADLY IN LOVE…
People do extraordinary things just to prove how much they are in love. Some go beyond their normal abilities to express how much they are in love. Others spend each and every penny they have by buying the most expensive gifts for the love of their life. This is especially true in the case of men!
Solomon built God’s temple in 7 years but the palace for his queen took 13 years!
The Taj Mahal in India is standing testimony today of the extent a man can go just to express love for a woman.
I am sure you and I can also cite cases in our own lives where we have expressed love to those we love in very expensive terms. Beautiful homes, nice cars, clothing, jewelry etc. To be in love is a very costly affair and it calls for total commitment. Of course some people love for very wrong reasons. In today’s materialistic world, it is fashionable for people to go for wealth and fame at the expense of true love. No wonder the many divorce cases and turmoil that characterizes today’s marriages. True committed love never looks at physical attributes only, neither does it waver when change for better or worse comes. Love based on a firm foundation will always stand the test of time and trials.
SOME LOVELY PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE
ABRAHAM committed to God in Genesis 22. He gave Isaac his only son when God asked him to do so while believing God for the miraculous. Isaac was not born in normal times. Both parents were way beyond their child bearing stage, therefore this act of love for God is also way beyond human comprehension. Imagine giving an only child!
JONATHAN Committed to David in 1 Samuel 18:1-3. This is a kind of love that I characterize as love that goes beyond circumstances. Jonathan was an heir apparent to king Saul but he was ready to be lead by David when he saw that God was clearly for David. He gave David his weapons of war and princely robes of state. David remembered him even when he was dead by honoring Jonathan’s lame son, Mephiposheth (2 Samuel 9). Some of us would have quoted this adage; out of sight out of mind. Not David, he remembered the commitment of Jonathan his long departed friend.
RUTH committed to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-18. Once committed always remain committed. The story of Ruth and Naomi is perhaps one of the best examples of committed love. In riches and in poverty, Ruth stuck to mother in law. Normally such relationships in real life are very rare indeed. Even when Ruth later gets married to a rich husband, she remained committed to her mother in law, Naomi. Someone else would have developed airs as soon as a sign of wealth is seen from the horizon. Not Ruth, she was humbly committed to Naomi no matter the change in status.
ELISHA committed to Elijah in 2 Kings 2. This is yet another excellent example of a totally loving commitment. Stick to it even when circumstances and external interference try to dissuade you. Elisha stuck to Elijah like super glue and eventually he got what he wanted; a double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Be tenacious to the very end of your pursuits and you shall surely reap the benefits of perseverance.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Are you just as committed to anyone or anything as these lovely people of the bible? If yes, stick to it to the end. If not, learn from them and re-focus your mind to achieving the very best in life regardless of circumstances. I know someone somewhere is saying but I live with a beast for a husband or am married to a knife instead of a wife. Love simply cannot exist in my situation etc. Let me ask you what the angel asked Abraham when his wife Sarah laughed at the promise to conceive; IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD? (Genesis 18:13-14). God is able to transform that marriage into a starling example of love. Since he joined the two of you together, then it is only Him alone who can separate. Unfortunately courts and ugly situations have taken this role and forced divorce and separation to families. How sad! Some have taken desperate measures to try and bring love back in to the home. Relax and let God be God. Take your marital problems to Him in prayer and supplication. He will stop all things to listen. He listened to barren Hannah, He listened even to disobedient Jonah from the belly of the fish, He will listen to your case too. After all he is the Judge of the Universe. He cares for you as much as the next guy and His calendar is never full. Tell Him your needs right now even as you work or walk. He is every where and attentive. Prophet Isaiah puts it very well:
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. (Isa 59:1 NIV)
GOD IS LOVE.
Why some people go for love portions from magicians and sorcerers to improve on love relationships, I shall never know! The bible is clear on the source of Love.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:7-16 NIV)
God’s gift of love to us is Jesus Christ His only begotten son! This is no cheap gift. How many of us can give our only child as a gift? Therefore, know this you who is seeking love. Do not go to the magicians or sorcerers for love portions! They will give you some fake powders at best and at worst sale you their own urine! Most will impart in you their demons! But instead I urge you to go to God who is Love. It will cost you nothing!
TRUE LOVE ENDURES.
No one can ever put it any better than the first letter to the Corinthians chapter 13 that we read above. Let us read the fine words again to get the full import;
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails
My goodness! Give me love all the time. These are gems of life. If all of us love, there would be no war in the world.
A TRUE STORY.
In 1989 a devastating earthquake hit Amernia and by the time it was over in less than 15 minutes, 30,000 people were dead and many more badly wounded. Towns were flattened and a terrible tragedy had visited thousands of people. A story is told of a man who dashed to a nearby school where his young son was attending pre-school. When he arrived together with many other parents, the school was a heap of rubble. Hopelessness and anguish hit the people very hard when they saw the heap of what was once a school. With no rescue tools to lift off the stones, it was very hard to save any of the buried children. That is if any was still a live. This man remembered a promise he had made to his son, that no matter what, he will always be there for him and so he should never have to worry. He immediately went to the heap of stones that was once his son’s class and with only his bare hands he started removing the stones. The police and other people told him it was too late to save anyone. He kept on minute by minute and hour by hour. Two, hours, five hours, ten hours and without a break he kept on working on the pile. His hands were raw and chapped yet he kept on spurred by hope and the promise he gave his son. After Thirty-Eight Hours of exhausting, back breaking work, he heard a voice like that of his son and he called out; Arman! Arman! He heard his son then speak to his colleagues and tell them; “I told you not to worry, because if my dad is alive, he will come to save me and then you too shall be saved too; because my dad had made a promise that no matter what happens, he will always be there for me”
I am sure these words must have banished the pain and exhaustion of the father coming at the time it did. How many of us can claim to have such commitment? The first sign of trouble and we leave it to fate. May God help us to be patient and believe God’s promises to us in faith. He is our heavenly father and has promised never to leave nor forsake us. A suckling mother may forget her child, a chicken may forget her chicks, but not so with Jehovah God! He is alive and he is coming back for us! We may be down and buried under loads of rubbish and rubble in this present world. Have hope and faith in the Lord Jesus who has said, Let not your hearts be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. The son in the story believed in his earthly father, shouldn’t we too believe in our heavenly Father? Never give up. Imagine if the father in the story above had followed the advise of those who had given up hope, the son and friends would have surely died inside the rubble! I say again do not give up now, at least not yet… Give it one more chance. Your end is God’s entry point.
AS YOU COMMITT TO LOVE OTHERS MORE, REMEMBER TO LOVE GOD THE MOST…
Parents if your bundle of joy; your bubbly baby falls into a pool of dirty water or puts soil in his or her mouth; would you stop loving the baby or love him/her less? No way! You pick him/her up and with loving endearments clean the baby and oil him/her. A bit of scolding will soon be followed by hugs and kisses and words of endearment. The same is true with our God, He loves us very much and like children we occasionally fall into the devils pool of dirty tricks. Of course our God of Love will chastise us for our sins and that is a sign of love. Parents punish their children when they do wrong not because they hate them, but because of love and desire to see them grow up into respectable adults. Like babies to parents, let us allow the Lord to pick us up and cleanse us with His Powerful Blood. We should love and be committed to the Lord unconditionally. The command to Love the Lord God with all our strength, wealth and mind is a call to commit to God despite whatever may arise in our walk with God. Prophet Habakkuk put it aptly when he said:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Hab 3:17 NIV)
With or without money in the bank, no job or in bad health; love God and strive to be joyful always under all circumstances.
PARYER: Lord Jesus, someone reading this today needs love and does not know how to get it. I pray in your name that let your divine love be real to them right now. Reach out to them and embrace them with your true love. Others have only known hatefulness and torment; I ask that you change their sorrows into real joy for the sake of your great name. AMEN.