Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Growing in Love - #1 ~ Showing Love

What is love? [See verses 4-8a below]

This is the first installment of a series I am titling, "Growing in Love". 
In this installment I am just laying down some basic points of what love is and how you can show love. 
The next article will be more in-depth.

1 I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith - enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, 5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not gloat over other people's sins but takes its delight in the truth. 7 Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. 8 Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass. 9 For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. 12 For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. 13 But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.

So, in a quick summary, God's Word says that Love is:
~ Patient
~ Kind
~ Content & Satisfied (not Jealous)
~ Modest (not Boastful)
~ Humble (not Proud)
~ Respectful and Nice (not Rude)
~ Selfless (not Selfish)
~ Calm & Easy going (not easily Angered)
~ Forgives and Forgets & Bears NO Grudges (keeps no Record of Wrongs)
~ Sorry when Others Sin (doesn't Gloat over Others' Sins)
~ Takes Delight in Truth
~ always Bears Up
~ always Trusts
~ always Hopes
~ always Endures
~ Alive Forever (Never ENDS)

I don't know about you, but, whenever I read 1 Corinthians 13 I am convicted that my love doesn't look like that. Whenever I read this beautiful chapter, I ask God to help my love to look like this. This chapter also reminds me of how Christ loves us – He was the perfect example of how to love.

After thinking about this subject (one I believe God has laid upon my heart lately) I have listed some practical ways to Love:
*this is in no way a complete list - just some suggestions as to how every one of us can show love to others*

Loving God:
By this we know that we love the children of God,when we love God, and keep his commandments. - 1 John 5:2
And you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. - Deuteronomy 6:5
~ To show God we love Him, we must keep His commands, which can be found in the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible). SO, to grow in love – we must practice keeping His commands.
~ Also, to show anyone that we love them, we must spend time with them each day. With God, in prayer and in His Word. SO, to grow in love – we must spent time with Him each day.
~ We must remember when praying, not to just talk to God BUT to actually listen for God to speak to us. If we are the ones always doing the talking – we loose our opportunity to hear from the Father. SO, to grow in love – we must listen to Him.
~ If we follow His perfect will for our lives & do what He wants us to do – we show that we love him. SO, to grow in love – we must follow His will, not ours.

Loving Parents:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  That it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on the earth. - Ephesians 6:1-3
~ Honor & Obey them! Accept their commands and constructive criticisms, don't keep them at arms length at all times, don't rebel against them. Honor and obey them cheerfully - then it will go well with you.
~ Talk - really talk with them. Parents are supposed to be our friends.
~ Spend time with them! Cook with your mom, paint with your dad ~ something!You won't have them with you forever.
~ Thank them for raising you, feeding you, clothing you, teaching you, being there for you, etc.
~ Talk well of them to your friends (no grumbling to Sue, "My dad is SO tough on me!"). Speak respectfully about your parents - even (especially) to strangers.

Loving Your Spouse:
Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is himself the one who keeps the body safe. Just as the Messianic Community submits to the Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. As for husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave himself up on its behalf, - Ephesians 5:22-25
~ Spend quality time with them, talk, really and truly talk with them. After marriage, your spouse *should* be your best friend and truest confident.
~ Do things together as often as possible!
~ Wives - submit to your husbands, do special things for them. Honor your husband in your speech, conduct, and dress. Yes, dress in ways your husband especially likes. Never belittle your husband - in the sight of others especially.
~ Husbands - love your wives as Christ loves us, His Bride. Even the smallest things you do to show her how much you care will be appreciated.

Loving Siblings:
Don't grumble against one another, brothers, so that you won't come under condemnation - look! the Judge is standing at the door! - James 5:9
~ Spend time with them - [really, this cannot be emphasized enough!] learn their likes, dislikes, and do things they like with and for them. Talk with them, play with them even if it's just your little 4 year old brother who only wants to talk of his Lego creation and play stick-sword fights.
~ If you have younger siblings, try and understand them, and don't provoke or belittle them - it will mean a lot to them. [remember, you were once their age]
~ Give loving advice, and have heart-to-heart talks on important subjects.
~ Don't talk bad of them to your friends - please, don't! Just as with everyone - if you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all. - And include them where they can be included.
~ Don't bicker for no reason! Love is not Rude!
~ Build each other up. Siblings are notorious [and quite good actually] at tearing each other down - a mean sport they shouldn't engage in.

Loving Extended Family (saved and unsaved):
But treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you - yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. - 1 Peter 3:15-16
~ Do things for them
~ Tell them about your Faith & behave blamelessly
~ Never talk ill of your family to extended family members [honestly, that is one of the worst things you could talk about with them!]
~ Be there when they need you
~ Show gratitude to them [especially generous grandparents!]

Loving Friends:
A friend shows his friendship at all times -it is for adversity that [such] a brother is born. - Proverbs 17:17
~ Talk well of them when they aren't around. Just as with everyone - if you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all.
~ Do what they want to do - don't just follow your every will and whim. No one likes a bossy person. [one of the easiest ways to lose your friends is to be bossy]
~ Build each other up.

Loving Fellow Believers:
We, for our part, know that we have passed from death to life because we keep loving the brothers. The person who fails to keep on loving is still under the power of death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. The way that we have come to know love is through his having laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers! - 1 John 3:14-16
~ Be hospitable to them
~ Ask about their lives - show genuine interest in what God is doing with/for them.
~ Listen to them - especially the older, wiser Believers who have much knowledge to give.

Loving The Lost:
But treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you - yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. - 1 Peter 3:15-16
~ Witness to them
~ Be kind, and helpful to them
~ Be ready always to give them the reasons for the hope that is in you.

The most important thing of all is - PRAY - pray for all these various groups of people. 
Your prayers for the individuals in each group will be quite different, but, prayer is so powerful; and we are commanded to pray without ceasing.

I hope this gives some practical ways to love others. 
Though we all know of ways to love others - it is always good to have little reminders now and then.


Side Note: Thanks to all who voted on my poll! I have read and documented the results so I can refer to them for awhile whenever I am trying to decide what to post on. ;-)
The Top 5 are:

Emotional & Physical Purity - 5 (votes)
Waiting & Delighting in the Lord - 5
Sibling Matters - 5
Growing in Love - 5
Selflessness - 5

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