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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Loving Unconditionally"

Date published: 11/10/2014
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (NIV) 

   In every sphere of your life, you will be confronted with people who are unlovable, hurtful, rude, uncooperative, difficult, and sinful. Any of these conditions can easily arouse your bodily flesh to respond with anything but love. As difficult as the situation may be, John 15:12 commands you to love, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (NIV) There is probably no more difficult command than loving the unlovable. How do you overcome any of the potential offenses that can be quite egregious while fulfilling God’s command to love? 1 Corinthians 16:14 tells us: “Do everything in love.” (NIV)  

   1 Corinthians 13:4-7 provides one of the best guides for loving others, “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.” (NIV) This is one of the most widely read passages in Scripture, yet do we really ascribe to this behavior? When someone treats you unkindly, do you respond in kindness? When someone offends, accuses, or wrongs you, does your countenance change them or do you respond in anger? Is your behavior often driven by envy at God’s blessings in another’s life instead of joy? Colossians 3:14 not only reinforces love, but reveals its importance in building His kingdom in unity, “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV) 

   While 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 focuses on the character traits that produce love, 1 Peter 4:9-11 provides some fuel for loving others, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.” (NIV) Ultimately your ability to love is dependent upon a deepening relationship with Jesus. As Jesus consumes and floods your heart with His love and grace, love will ooze from you to others. 1 Peter 1:22 says it better, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV) 1 Thessalonians 3:12 further describes God’s overflow, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.” (NIV) The secret to unconditionally loving others is having more of Jesus in your heart, so that you begin seeing others as Jesus sees them - having a heart like Jesus’ that resonates feeling, compassion, and understanding. We can only love others when we truly allow Jesus to love us! 

Ephesians 5:2 “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (NIV)  

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