Sunday, August 9, 2015

7 Christian Principles to Grow Your Faith:

Building a Stronger Trust Series

Part 7 Love:
Love is the 7th, and last Christian principle Peter (2 Peter 1: 5-7 NKJV) brought to our attention to building a solid faith. God created us out of love and wanted us to share it with our neighbors. And Peter included it as a reminder to live in God’s will.

Why does God insist we love each other?

Jesus answered this when He told the Pharisee God’s greatest commandments. After Christ had placed loving God as the number one commandment, then He made it known the second greatest is loving others (Matthew 22: 37-39).

Love is a desirable yet an elusive life experience. Everybody wants to be loved.

It takes faith to love others. Expectations often prevent us from unconditional love. By placing unrealistic demands on love we become disappointed for we want a reward for doing God’s commands.

The Lord graced us with His free love, and we should follow our Father’s perfect lead. Even though we fall short doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying.

Remember your eternal life is at stake.

To show affection to others consistently requires a life centered in Christ. Untreated sin prevents love from radiating from our hearts. Sin destroys godliness and ruins everything worthwhile in life. A lost or unsaved soul is in constant conflict with others and God Himself. Love can’t grow under those terms.

It isn’t hard to love those we cherish. We understand their imperfections and will forgive. Our acceptance of their shortcomings is at its peak, and we can move beyond the conflict. Christ stated rewards in loving those who love us isn’t available (Matthew 5: 46)

The challenge of loving difficult people is tough. None of us chooses to be around them, yet we can’t ignore their existence. We find them in our families, at work, social gatherings and sometimes in church. They are everywhere, and we are commanded to love them.

So how can we move past their sins and show them compassion?

Your answer is building a stronger bond with Christ.   

The courage Christ provides overcomes weakness. Self-reliance is a setup for disaster. A life run on self-will can’t love disturbed people. We do not remove the hurt caused by others, mend the heart and love our enemies. Only God can overtake the obstacles stopping us from loving. Everything is possible with Christ, and the sacrifices we make in obedience is fruitful.     

Experiencing God’s love leaves no excuses not to love others.

Either we are with God or not. We have to put faith into action and stand firm on God’s word. Fence straddling isn’t wise since Christ doesn’t favor lukewarm believers (Revelations 3: 16).

God is the judge. We are followers. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and part of His plan is hidden. You may question why loving ungodly people is necessary. But continuous reliance on Christ removes doubt and allows the Holy Spirit to direct our lives. We enjoy loving others since the Spirit is our Guiding Light. Then we are blessed as a peacemaker spreading God’s love with a pure heart.

Humility plays an essential role in living as Christians. By humbling ourselves before Christ, we find unconditional love. Jesus holds the key to God’s wisdom and without this compassion is elusive. When we are humble, pride flees, and we hand over the injustices of others to God. The result humility brings is experiencing a spiritual love without boundaries.  

Love has nothing to do with someone else’s soul. It purifies our heart and conditions our spirit for eternal life. Our love of others here on earth is proportionate to judgment day. Don’t be mistaken God will judge us (Romans 14: 10-12).

Salvation has nothing to do with our personal preferences. Eternal life is for faithful servants granted by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8). Our part is adhering to God’s word. Faith loves others, regardless of their behavior. Christ notices our efforts and is pleased with our actions of loving troubled souls.

In my walk with Christ, a whole new pair of eyes has emerged. The blinders Christ removed from my vision exposed the way I loved the people. It wasn’t pleasant. God awakened me to my wrongful way of loving others. My selective choices in whom I loved wasn’t right, and resentments hardened my heart.

When God rescued me, He showed me my repentance. The Lord commanded me to take a moral inventory, accept my wrongs and make amends to those I hurt. Once I followed His directions my ability to love increased. And as the result of Christ’s direction years of grudges melted away, giving room for God’s grace. Another added quality of acting on God’s instructions is the harmony I have with others.

Today I love people, and I’m not as selective. I still fall short of loving everyone. The way I move past the struggle is looking within myself and see where I’m at fault. Once I discover the sin preventing me from loving, then I humbly ask God to remove it. This opens the door to repentance and the course of action God wants for me to take emerges. Once I know what the Lord commands me to do and act on it, I’m able to love again.

Every day the media reminds us the penalties from a world are lacking unconditional love. Hatred continues to make headlines and exposes the evilness of prejudice. Greed is another sin written on and shows the problems associated with hoarding money. Starvation could be solved, but greed makes sure it will continue. The list is large.

We can’t escape nor deny the wickedness around the globe. Our love for evildoers may not change their ways, but is favorable in God’s kingdom. Love for unrighteous people isn’t accepting their behavior, but a willingness to trust God divine plan.

Maybe you have a different outlook on loving others. We can agree Christ’s command is fruitful, wise and eternal. United under God’s umbrella we can let others know we are Christian by our love.