"To love another person is to see the face of God" - Les Misérables
Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:11-12
Our loving others may be the only “face of God” that they ever see... (John 13:34,35)
(This blog in PowerPoint format attached)
One at a Time
Jesus loved in the singular (Mark 10:21).
- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
- How do you love a city full of people? One person at a time!
Actually, we are not commanded to love, encourage, serve, or share "with everyone". We are commanded to love, encourage, serve, or share "with one another". Jesus freed us to demonstrate love in the moment, for whoever is before us. We will never learn to love others unless we do it one at a time. To help an individual, we do not have to start a ministry and look for others with the same need. All we have to do is take the circumstances at hand and do the best for that person. Jesus has come to us as Love so that we might come to love as Jesus!
Not Getting but Giving
Jesus did not say to “get love from each other”. He told us to simply “give love to one another”. If we focus on what others can do for us then we are going to be disappointed. To engage in loving others we must shift the focus from our wants, agenda, and needs to theirs. God has given us the freedom to NOT to be focused on ourselves all the time. Jesus spent His ministry following His Father’s instruction to love those around Him. It is not about getting love but giving it.
We cannot do for others what has not already been done for us:
"I give you a new commandment– to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
I in them and you in me - that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. John 17:23
We love because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. John 3:16-18
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44
So Jesus added, "Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come." John 6:65
...because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. John 15:5 b
- It demonstrates the reality of Jesus to a world that cannot see Him (John 13:35)
- It is the only way to know the fullness of Jesus’ joy (John 15:8-12)
Love is patient. This is the normal attitude of Love. Love passive, love waiting to begin, not in a hurry, calm, ready to do its work when the summons comes but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:3,4). For Love understands, and therefore waits even with people that are not rich, influential or powerful. It does not rush people but rather gives them time to grow (2 Timothy 2:24). Patience is the ability to have a Christlike attitude while waiting. (Matthew 5:5)
Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrating the whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere. (Wuest) (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Love active. Think about how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things – in merely doing kind things! (Acts 10:38) God has put in our power the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them (1 John 3:18). One of the greatest things a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children (Matthew 25:40). Kindness is the quality of being warm-hearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic. (Matthew 5:7) However, kindness has the toughness to confront others with their shortcomings and helps them overcome them. (Proverbs 27:5,6,17.Hebrews 10:24)
Love is not envious. This is Love even when in competition with others. Whenever you attempt a good work you will find others doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not. Envy is a feeling of ill will to those who are in the same line as us, a spirit of covetousness and detraction. Love is generous in its opinion of others. It enjoys the success of others! (1 Corinthians 12:26.Romans 12:15) If you only enjoy recognized personal successes then you will feel rejected much of the time. It remembers that in the world we cannot control how others will respond to us but we can control how we respond to others. (James 3:13-18)
To put a seal on your lips and forget what you have done. After you have been kind, after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it. Love hides even from itself. Love waives even self-satisfaction. It is humble in relationships with others (Romans 12:16). It is not on an ego or power trip. It remembers that leadership is serving others. Love does not boast is not puffed up. (Matthew 6:1-4.Philippians 2:2-4)
[Love] does not act unbecomingly. (Wuest) (1 Corinthians 13:5)
This is Love in society, Love in relation to etiquette, Love in little things. The secret of politeness is to Love. Love cannot behave itself unseemly. Love is courteous. Love is friendly. Love has good manners. It treats other with dignity even if they do not seem to deserve it. Love is courteous with good manners. (1 Peter 4:9.Galatians 6:10)
Love does not seek even that which is her own. This is the giving up of not just our rights but of ourselves. To be abandoned to God’s will and purpose for our lives. Remember that there is no greatness in things – greatness is only found in unselfish love. There is no happiness in having, or in getting, but only in giving – for Life consists of giving and serving (Acts 20:35). Love is unselfish and selfless. (Romans 12:10-13)
Ill temper is the vice of the virtuous. The one blot on an otherwise noble character is to be easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or have a touchy disposition. An evil temper can cause the name of Christ to suffer more than vice, worldliness, greed, or even drunkenness. Temper is significant in not only what it is but even more so in what it reveals. Temper is the symptom of a lack of Christ conformity within our souls. However, souls are not made sweet by taking the acid out but rather by putting the Spirit of Christ within. Love is even-tempered even with less powerful, rich or influential people. Love is not easily provoked. (James 1:19,20.Matthew 5:9.Matthew 5:43-48.Romans 12:14.Romans 12:17-21)
[Love] does not take into account the evil [which it suffers]. (Wuest) (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. Love imputes no ill motive, sees the bright side, and puts the best construction on every action. Love believes in others knowing this is what helps others to believe in themselves. Love believes the best in others giving the benefit of the doubt. Love leaves all judgment to God (Luke 6:37.1 Corinthians 4:3). Love is guileless. (Matthew 5:8)
The self-restraint which refuses to take advantage of the faults of others. The Love which delights not in exposing the weakness of others, but covers them like a medicated bandage over a wound (Proverbs 10:12.Proverbs 17:9.1 Peter 4:8.James 5:20). The sincerity of purpose which endeavors to see things as they are, and rejoices to find them better than suspicion feared or slander denounced. It gets not pleasure out of the shortcomings or failures of others. Love embraces those that fail and it builds up those who have been hurt. It finds no room for racism or sexism. It is not full of hypocrisy or dishonesty. Love is sincere. (Matthew 5:9)
[Love] endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails. (Wuest) (1 Corinthians 13:7,8)
(1) Left click to open a new Tab with more information on this topic.
(3) See attached PowerPoint that can be used to lead a class through this study.
(4) Resources for the section on Love:
"The Greatest Thing in the World", Authored by Henry Drummond in 1874, ISBN 1-55748-422-8, a partner with D.L. Moody
Tony Campolo (1992). Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong. Irving, Texas: Word Publishing.