By sis Mary Ann Catolos
“If I have faith that can move mountains,
but I do not have love,
I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13: 2
To start off, I’d like to share a bit of my story.
As children, my three older sisters and I were referred as “PKs”, aka “Preacher’s Kids”! We grew up in church and we were involved in almost every ministry you can think of: visiting sick members, house-to-house visitations, teaching children, distributing relief goods, shaking hands, putting on our big smiles...
On the surface, I was an “exemplary Christian”. But somehow, I knew deep down that something was amiss. That all of these things were done as an UNSPOKEN OBLIGATION, given that our dad is a preacher of the church.
I was not experiencing the fullness of God in my everyday life. I wasn’t yearning for His presence. I was not fully resolved that God loves me deeply!
By God’s grace, I have come to believe now that love for others will naturally spring out of an authentic relationship with God. Once you understand and know God’s heart, there’s nothing left than to love:
Love those who are different from you.
Love those who are difficult to love.
Love those who are spiritually and emotionally in need.
We only learn to love God and others because He first loved us. And when we do love God, we will obey. Obedience is simply an outflow!
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
I can try to convince you to love others as God commands us to do... but what I’d really like to do, first and foremost, is to challenge each of us to take time to consider our relationship with God. If you had to give it a relationship status, what would it be? Exploring? It’s complicated? Or deeply committed?
To grow closer to God, let us sit by His feet, get deep into His Word and learn how to love one another!
We show love if we are:
I. Patient. When you are slow to anger. When you endure personal wrongs without retaliating. When you bear with other’s imperfections, faults and differences. When you give others time to change.
II. Kind. Derived from the Greek Word chrestotes which means “useful.” You are kind if you are helpful. You seek out the needs of others and look for opportunities to meet those needs without repayment. You are tender and forgiving when wronged.
III. Not Envious. To me, envy is not simply the desire for what others have, but the desire to take it away so that they can no longer have it.
“A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)
IV. Not Boastful or Arrogant. Boasting comes from the desire for others to see what you have. Areas to look out for: What we post on social media, how we accept compliments, when we try and make the conversation about ourselves (ME MYSELF AND I).
A classic example can be found in Luke 18: 9-14.
“Love isn’t trying to build me up; love is trying to build up others!”
V. Not Rude. To be rude means to behave in an unseemly or undignified manner. A good example is the story of David and Saul in 1 Samuel 24 and 26.
“The dignity I give to other people reveals nothing about how honorable they may be, and everything about how honorable I am!”
VI. Not Self-seeking. “It does not insist on its own way.” (1 Cor 13:5. ESV translation). There’s a difference between being adamant about what is right and adamant for having things My Way. Selfishness is the root problem of the human race; it is the opposite of love which is SELF-SACRIFICING!
VII. Not Irritable. Or easily provoked, or being touchy. If we aren’t willing to let go of our ego, then we fail at the very first thing Christ demands of us – to DENY YOURSELF!
VIII. Not keeping a Record of Wrongs. If God forgave all our sins, why can’t we forgive others who have sinned against us? We are to be forgiving with others, in the same way that God has been with us.
IX. Not Finding Joy in Unrighteousness but Rejoicing in Truth. Love hates sin. To rejoice in the truth means to be glad about behaviour that is in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. Love does not compromise the truth or sugar-coat sin.
Love always Protects
Love always Trusts
Love always Hopes
Love always Perseveres
Let’s make it our prayer today to ask Him to lead us to places where He wants us to shine His light, and ask God to help us actively love others. And when we do this, we will guide those around us to seek His beauty and love too. Let’s Stand In The Gap In Loving Others.