|Listen to the Bible|
Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:Love... love... LOVE... Its one of the most common words today. But what does it really mean? To the carnal, love is the latest lustful conquest. To the romantic, love is butterflies in the stomach and feeling like your head is spinning whenever your loved one comes to mind. To the golden anniversary couple, love is life built together and a family clan gathered as the fruit of that love.
One of these examples comes closer than the others, but all of them beg the question: what is love? God is love - and author of it. By misunderstanding the meaning of love, we fail to grasp the magnitude of what He has done for us. Additionally, we find ourselves unable to follow the Gospel Commission in any real or powerful way. How can we expect to reach out to them?
Most Christians shy away from trying to go into all the world with the love of Christ. Does the Gospel Commission include Muslim extremists? Does the love of God extend to Neo-Nazi Skinheads and other haters? Maybe just God can love those tough ones! Maybe we Christians are off the hook, because we're supposed to be holy - and being holy means we cannot hang out with the likes of them! But holiness is not separation from sinners. It's separation from sin!
Sadly, among Christians, we even find it hard to love our fellow Christians. There's that gossiper or backstabber who meets with our fellowship of believers... There's that person who once was our friend, but now can't stand us anymore... There's so-and-so who believes this-and-that differently from us... and since we're doctrinally right - they're doctrinally wrong (and spiritually blind - foolish)... We shouldn't have to deign to hang out with them!
I know, its an uncomfortable look... but bear with me here. Let's have the courage to look at ourselves. And let's ask? Is that the love of God in my life? We may squirm in our seats, but we know the answer... No, that's not love... What is it then? Isn't love the easiest part of Christianity? Isn't that Scriptural Kindergarten? Love may be the foundation of Christianity, but it definitely isn't Kindergarten. Love is the College course!
In 1 Peter 1:5-8, Peter lists a ladder of Christian virtues. Rung-by-rung, in Christ, we are invited to climb higher and higher as we spiritually grow and mature. And can you guess what is the highest rung of the ladder? LOVE!