The Lord met us recently to teach and reinforce for us the importance of walking in His Love. We looked at much more than 1 Corinthians 13, and received a broader, deeper understanding of loving like God loves us.
Feel free to download the handout for our first activity in this class, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Me. The point of this exercise was to examine the beliefs and behaviors of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and to check our own beliefs and behaviors. We looked closely, even with this summary document, at how each group lived out their beliefs. We pointed out contradictions and even considered the points of conviction for us.
I believe this is a good tool we can add to with other scriptural examples to help us judge our hearts and increase our sensitivity for when our behaviors disagree with our biblical and godly beliefs.
The discussion about walking in God’s Love targeted the obstacles. What are the things in the way of our loving more like God loves us? We took the approach of examining more than one source, so we looked at what the following people had to say about love.
What we found is that love is not rooted in our routines and rules, our fears, our memories, our hard hearts, our masks and self-deception, our lack of wisdom or our lack of discipline. Love is rooted in God, and through relationship with Him, also rooted in our love ourselves.
God gave us love in our hearts by His Spirit (Rom. 5:5). We do not have to “work it up” or force it; instead, we must yield to God’s love and let Him (because God is love) change us to filter His love through us to others. All that we do should come from love
(1 Cor. 16:14), that is, a sincere, authentic and pure place (Rom. 12:9). Jesus said that our greatest witness to the world is our love for each other in the community of faith (Jn. 13:34-35).
Even as we follow rules and obey instructions, we follow and obey in love (Rom. 13:8-10). Mercy, we learned, is a powerful part of God’s Love. Check out Ephesians 2:4-7.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.ESV
God has a rich supply of mercy extended to us as part of His great love for us. Maybe Watchman Nee had it right, that believers in Jesus Christ need to first sit before we walk or stand (ref. Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee). Rich mercy and great love — we need to wrap our minds around that to the point of being renewed in mind and transformed in heart. We are most powerful as witnesses for Jesus when we know we are loved, and that His great love in us can minister to others. The list of obstacles to real love then, becomes obvious.
We can love like God. We can extend rich mercy to others. It is in us to do it. He placed His love in us to do it. Love is not chick flicks and goosebumps and candy. Love is real and raw and up close. Love is the measuring stick for failure and success. Love is transforming in us, and through us. Love makes things happen!
Love can heal us, help us, repair us, and send us to love another. Love is without expectation, but is full of mercy and grace. Love exists before one must prove worthiness. God’s love is not the same as the worldly, carnal, emotional messages fed to us daily. Love sanctifies and cleanses. Love covers mistakes. Love deals in truth, even if the truth is tough. Love loves the light, and does not traverse in darkness. Love is good and not evil. Love takes time to mature in us. God’s great love is incubated in our hearts and life teaches us to yield to it.
So then, beloved, let’s bring our obstacles to the Father. Let’s admit them, and weaken them, and send them packing! Let’s let His love work in us, and through the barriers we thought made us safe. Let’s let His love more through us, and dampen or silence any judgment we seek to put down on others. Let us love in truth, not cowering to pressure or societal politeness. But in kind strength, in God’s love, let us walk in light as He is in light. Let us love and cling to what is good. Let us trample evil with God’s love. Amen? Amen.
Shaunta D. Scroggins, Ed.D. is the lead contributor for the Bereans’ Commentary.
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