Monday, January 17, 2011

January 18, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
Mature love is pure love. It is the love God has for you as revealed in His Son, Jesus. It is pure love because it comes from pure motives.
Mature love is honest. It has nothing to hide and no hidden motive or agenda. Honest love seeks the best for others and gives its best to others. It acts on the truth and speaks the truth and deals truthfully with those it loves.
Mature love is humble. It puts the needs and interests of others ahead of its own. There is no pretense or need to impress. It is not concerned about maintaining an image or protecting an ego. It is not afraid to risk in order to make others feel loved.
Mature love hates hurtful things and therefore doesn't hurt others. It opposes evil things and stays clear of evil itself. Evil is the anti-love because it promotes selfishness.
Mature love is helpful. It embraces the things that are good and helpful for others. It looks for the things that are good and helpful in others. It encourages and serves to bring out the best in others.
Mature love honors others by honoring God and obeying His Word.
Mature love is pure love because it comes out of pure motives and expresses itself in ways worthy of God's love. This is the love you receive from God and the love He expects you to share with others. And this is the love that fosters unity and community within the Body of Christ.

January 17, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
Everyone wants love. Everyone needs love. Very few know how to give it. Many have trouble receiving it.
Tucked into the center of this incredible chapter about finding our purpose is this admonition to learn how to love. Could it be that love is at the heart of our purpose?
Once the ego, and the evil and the emotions have been surrendered, and once the mind has had a supernatural transformation (by the way, the word for "transformation" is the root word for "metamorphosis" - which is what happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly). What happens in your heart and mind is no less miraculous than that!
When you have removed the obstacles to loving God and of recieving His love, you have positioned yourself to think and act in loving ways. One expression of that is serving in the Body using your spiritual gift.
So, the result of heeding these admonitions will be unity and community in the Body. As hard as it is to get there, how in the world do you maintain it?
Unity and community are preserved by maturity. Mature love will keep the Body healthy and growing.
What is mature love? What does it look like? What are the characteristics that mark this love? That will be the theme of our posts this week.
Mature love is sincere. Sincere means "real", not "phony", not "faked". The origins of the word "sincere" comes from two words meaning "without wax". Interesting, eh? It comes from a practice common to unscrupulous potters when they sold their wares in the market. Occasionally as the pots were being fired in the kiln, a few of them would crack. You have known enough crackpots in your lifetime to know that doesn't work. But rather than take the loss on the pots that had cracked the dishonest potter would melt wax and seal over the cracks and paint the pottery to hide their deception. Then they would sell the defective pots at full price. Only when that pot sat in the sun and the wax melted did the buyer realize he had been swindled. So, to protect their own business and reputation, honest potters would put up a sign at their booth that said "Sine Cere" - "without wax".
Mature love does not try to cover the cracks in its life nor does it reject others for the imperfections they have. As Peter admonishes, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8 Mature love lets the love of God seep through the cracks of their life and into the cracks of others!
Do you love with a mature love? Do you know someone who loves you like that?