Love may be one of the most coveted experiences and yet one of the most misunderstood at the same time. We love tacos, and we love our family with the same word. Most people understand love as something they get or a feeling they have, but genuine love gives.
“For God so loved the world He gave…” John 3:16a
Love is the quintessential characteristic of a Christian. You can love without being a Christian, but you can’t be a Christian without love.
“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-8, 11-12
1 John 4 describes love without conditions. Love is not limited to those who are nice to us or like us, but we are to love one another.
Now before you think of the most unlovable person possible, to justify your reason for selective love, just begin by loving your neighbor. As we abide in God and God’s love abides in us, His love will perfect our ability to love others.
Our hesitancy to love others is because we view love as a transaction. What have you done for me? Or look at what you’ve done to me!
In Colossians 3:12-17, the Apostles Paul’s letter to the Colossians confronts those spreading misinformation in an attempt to confuse and divide the church. Paul launches a counterattack by detailing how we are called to live as Christians.
Authentic faith is transforming faith. If your faith isn’t changing how you live or see the world, it may be time to reevaluate what you believe.
In verse 12, we are told to “put on.” That phrase is translated from the Greek word endyo, which means to dress and clothe yourself. The emphasis is “I” put on. It’s my responsibility to live this way.
We are to put on the new self because we are beloved and holy. Beloved and holy indicates you belong to God. What an incredible thought that we are beloved by God. The word “holy” means different, set apart.
You are different and are to live differently than this world. It’s this lifestyle that aligns us with Christ.
Paul lists five virtues to “put on” as people who belong to God.
#1 Compassionate heart.
The word compassion means pity or mercy. Showing mercy is often a choice before it’s something we feel like doing. By showing mercy, we leave room for repentance by being merciful.
The word kindness comes from the Greek word philanthropia. This is where we get our English word philanthropy. The Greek word means to be generous, to show goodwill. Therefore, Christians should be the most generous people alive.
“Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will repay the lender.” Proverbs 19:17
I’ve heard humility best defined as “not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” A humble person is aware of his unworthiness to receive God’s marvelous grace.
Just recently, in the news, a politician who will remain nameless was called out for saying one thing and doing another. As I listened to their explanation, I was shocked as they began to say, “I made a mis-…” stopping short of saying “I made a mistake,” and then continued to justify their actions.
Humility teaches us to admit it when we’ve made a mistake. It also relieves the pressure of being perfect by keeping us in a teachable position.
Meekness is defined as gentle strength. It’s exercising power with calmness. A meek person is not easily provoked but tempers their response with tenderness.
#5 Patience (Who has time for that!)
The Biblical definition for patience is long-suffering. To suffer long adequately describes the word patience. To be patient is to wait for someone without rushing through the process.
Patience is critical when circumstances are out of our control.
Being patient allows us to see God work in our situation by not bypassing what He may be doing or teaching us at the moment.
But wait…there’s more!
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14
Love is like an overcoat that we put on over these virtues. As the binding agent, Paul demonstrates the supremacy of love.
It’s love that enables us to be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, and patient. If you’re struggling with one of the five mentioned virtues, there may be a love deficiency.
Putting on love enables us to;
#1 Bear with one another. We put on love so we can put up with others even when they fail us or act indifferent towards us.
#2 Promotes forgiveness. Forgiveness is a big deal with God.
“but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15
God demonstrated how to forgive the unforgivable and forgive the underserving by forgiving you and me so that we will freely forgive others.
Love is more than an emotion but a quality we put on and way of life that promotes transformation from the old nature to our new nature in Jesus!