What’s Love Got to Do with It? To answer this question, let’s first look at I John 4:8. This verse tells us that God is love and anyone who does not love, does not know (have a relationship with) God. To a Christian, that makes love pretty important. The next verse goes on to tell us how God showed his loves towards us by sending his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Now that’s a big word, but what it means is this: God sent His sinless son Jesus in the form of a man to receive the punishment for our sins so that our sins would not hinder our ability to have a relationship with God. Wow! So basically, God took responsibility for our sins by punishing Himself through His son to set us free! What love!
All God asks in return is we 1) believe in Him; 2) believe in the grace he has extended to us through Jesus; 3) love others as He (God) loves. Wow again! Most people who call themselves Christians have little trouble with the first two items, but number 3 is a little more difficult.
Rom 5:10 tells us that while we were enemies to God, God demonstrated His love towards us through His son Jesus. Therefore to love as God loves means, like God, we must demonstrate love to our enemies in hopes of reconciling them to God and us.
In Matt 5:44 Jesus gives us directions on how we can show love to our enemies. Jesus says, “Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” Bless them that curse you – This means not to return evil or slanderous words to those who render them to you. Instead you are to only speak that which you can identify as good about the offender and if you can find nothing good to say, keep silent and let God be your defense. Do good to them that hate you – This means you should not avoid an opportunity to be cordial and, when the opportunity presents itself, show compassion by meeting a need that you have the means to meet regardless of how you know the person feels about you.
Your kindness will either heap hot coals upon their heads or possibly change their view of you. Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you – Yes, there really are some people who stay up at night plotting your demise. But don’t you lose sleep over it. Pray for them, not that God would get them, but that he would show them the error of their ways so that they might come to believe as you believe and love as God and you love.
Yes, this can be hard and without the power of the Holy Spirit, impossible. It’s hard because the feelings of our flesh do not align with loving our enemies. Our flesh would prefer to get even or destroy them. But if the truth be known, you will never truly get even and you will never eliminate your enemies. Here’s why, Rom 8:29 tells us God has predestined us (those of us who believe in God and the grace provided us through Jesus) to conform to the image of His Son. To conform to the image of His Son requires us to love as both God and the Son love.
It would be unfair for God to have an expectation of us and not provide us the means and opportunity to fulfill it. The means to love as He loves is provided through the power of the Holy Spirit. God then provides the opportunity by using the flaws, issues, and sins of others around us to manifest in a way that appears to be or is in reality hostile towards us that we may have the opportunity to conform to the image of Christ by demonstrating God’s kind of love.
So God provides the means and God provides the opportunities. It is up to us to provide the choice. We must choose not to let our feelings govern our behavior but allow our behavior to govern our feelings. We must make a choice to love like God loves. People often say that their not perfect, no one is or can be perfect, and only God is perfect. But Jesus tells us in Matt 5:48 that loving like God loves is the achievement of perfection.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? – Everything!!!
Rev James W. Pitts Jr.
Senior Pastor - New Zion Tabernacle Ministries
120 Patrick Drive
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. 32547