Sunday, 13 February 2011

Be radical Lovers- "Love one another as I have loved you"

For a long time the Holy Spirit has been teaching my heart about love, of the love that Christ displayed, about the same love the apostles demonstrated; and the Holy Spirit has been tugging my soul to imitate. 2Corinthians 6:11-12 is always at the forefront of my mind which reads, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us”. I feel like the Corinthians, I am withholding my love and have not opened wide my affections to many souls of which the Spirit convicts me that I ought to. But I hold back and stiff my affections perhaps in fear of being seen as over zealous or to be thought of as being exceedingly righteous of which criticisms my soul wishes not to employ. These are senseless reasons and I ought not to be like this but this is my consistent disposition of which my soul desires to alter.  But how can I alter my character and dispose of my fears and free myself to love exceedingly and endlessly. I know the answer and at times when I am together filled with the glimpse of his love I cannot help but imitate and when the Holy Spirit consumes my soul, I care not but to love my God and neighbour whole heartedly. I am a soul moved more by feelings than by truth but herein is where I err for I should first be moved by truth and consequently feel accordingly. Therefore it gives my soul much pleasure to fathom the exhortations of love commanded in the Holy scriptures which then produces in me a passion to live accordingly.

Scripture is littered with the command to love. Our Lord Jesus rightly declared that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God  with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and with all of your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself’, (Mark 12:29-30). Love is the queen of Christian graces as Paul writes to the Corinthians in book 1 chapter 13:13, “And now, these three remain: faith, love and hope. But the greatest of these is love”.  Love is greater than faith and hope because it is the one  in which there is a reproduction between man and God. When a man loves he reflects his creator, but when a man hopes or posses faith, these qualities are not to be found in his creator because God has no need of them. For what should God hope for that he has not ordained or to whom should he depend on that he should possess faith? None at all for He is the giver of faith and the source of all hope but He is love and we love because He first loved us. We don’t have faith because he first had faith, nor do we hope because He first hoped; but we love because He first loved us and He has poured out His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit. Although it is to be said that faith, love and hope are inseparable for it is the rightful possession of a true Christian.

Paul writes “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3), and again “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (Colossians 3:14). Paul says to the Romans: "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). And also to the Ephesians: "Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2). This command is not only to be found with Paul but also in the hearts of the other apostles.

Peter and John joyfully declare this command. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). "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" (1 John 5:7-8).
These commands are to be found with the Apostles but the root of their declaration came from their Lord who engrained it into their hearts. Jesus proclaims, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).

Love is rightly the queen of Christian graces and we ought to walk in love, to swim in love and to live a life of love. We ought not to restrict our affections but to be radical lovers, passionate and excited. Love is fully demonstrated in the life of Jesus and to live a life of love is to imitate the Life of Christ. Many are deluded in thinking they have love but their love stems from man and not from God. Love is like a overflowing river of which by necessity must burst its own banks in order to water the dry land; its reward is the pleasure of flowing and expecting nothing in return.

A man may know nothing of penal substitution, or the full implication of the work of Christ on the cross, but the man would know that for God so loved the world is why Jesus hanged on that tree. My brothers and sisters, let us love as Christ loved us and let us free ourselves from any restricted love, and be like the rain which pours vehemently on dry grounds having no care for which patch its waters should drop.

K.Oni





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