Friday, December 16, 2011

Love All – LOVE

We know love by this that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:16-18

When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.

Love All – LOVE
Love is a word we use a lot to describe our affection for things and in America, we love a lot of things. We love our kids, spouses, freedom, sports teams, chocolate, steak, pizza, pets, mother etc.  Christmas love contains an extra effort of Christ-like character and love that we give during this season.

Consider Christ’s Love Sacrifice 1 John 3:16-18
 I don’t know if you have ever really contemplated the greatness of God’s sacrifice for us.  Love came down at Christmas.  Not just a squishy, gooey emotional love but a purposeful and sacrificial love. I am not sure that we will ever be able to get our heads around the sacrifice that Christ made for us so we could have the opportunity for life. To give up everything, the glory of heaven, the perfect union with the Father and Spirit, to take on flesh and voluntarily subject yourself to the limiting nature of flesh even while knowing the glory you experienced with the Father.  Jesus understands sacrifice in a way that we never will because we cannot love as purely as He loved.

Our Love for Others should be Sacrificial
Because God loves us and His love is sacrificial, John tells us that our Love for others should be sacrificial.  When we reflect on the perfect love that came down that first Christmas and embrace who Jesus is, how does that translate into our lives?  Maybe it's more about dying to our selfishness and pride than it is about jumping into oncoming traffic or taking a bullet. Maybe it's not so much about what we say as it is about how we act. Maybe it's about truly finding joy in the giving rather than the receiving

·      We need to be sacrificial with our currency - Money is one of those things that can truly show where our heart is because money can purchase many of the other things we like.
·      We need to be sacrificial in our conduct – Our actions, the things we do, speak love to others.  Our words need to be backed up with our conduct. The actions of love are different than the actions of greed, lust, selfishness or control.

To Love sacrificially requires a New Nature
John tells us that the ability to love in this way comes from God.  Agape love acts when we don’t feel like it.  It requires that we know God; not just know about Him… we need to be in relationship with Him. We enter that relationship by receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior. That is when we receive the Spirit of God to indwell us and help us to grow in our capacity to love with God’s kind of love.

Here is the Loving All – It is compassion and consideration displayed in our everyday relationships. What are the sacrifices, other than financial, that we can make to love others? Paul gives some very practical ways to be sacrificial in our lives.  The heart of sacrificial conduct is AGAPE love. 

Scripture to Claim:
and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;   1 Thessalonians 3:12

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