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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Love

Jesus was God's love in action! "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus came to love and set free, not judge and condemn. Love is to be our dominant value in life because God is love. Learning to love as God loves will be our number one lesson on earth. Our heart is the dwelling place of the Father, Jesus/Word and the Holy Spirit. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit created you to be loved by them, and for us to love one another. The more we learn to love authentically, the more like Jesus we become. God knows you deeply and intimately. He knows who and where you are in your love growth. The Godhead is patient, long-suffering and gentle with you as you grow in His love, as He wants us to be with each other.

Jesus summed up all of scripture with these two commandments. "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Learning to love God and others is the most important goal we can have. 1 Corinthians 14:1: Let love be your highest goal. The more we learn to love God and understand His love, the more we will love and accept one another. A Godlike, authentic love is powerful and healing. Jesus' love is the kind that heals, restores and deepens relationships.

Jesus in His love for mankind gave us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us love His way which is contrary to our human nature. Authentic love means that selfishness must be replaced with unselfishness; ego and conceit with compassion and counting others superior to ourselves. Me must be turned into we. The Holy Spirit must change the ways of our fleshly nature into the ways of Jesus. We can learn Jesus' way of love if we are willing and submitted to His will as He was submitted to the Father's will.

God created mankind for relationship. Relationships can be wonderful and fulfilling, but they can also be painful. Nonetheless, relationship should be our highest priority and value along with love for God and one another. Lesser values take less faith and less effort and sometimes produce quick satisfaction, but relationships require much more effort. God wants us to strive for excellence in our relationships.

Jesus loved His Heavenly Father with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength (power). He also loved mankind as He loved Himself. It was Jesus' deep love for His Father and mankind that held Him to the cross. Jesus accomplished more on the cross of suffering than He did with all of His words, actions and miracles. God doesn't demand that we do great things for His Kingdom but that we love one another and strive for excellence in our relationships. There is nothing wrong with doing great things for God, but ultimately it is love and relationship that God counts as His number one priority in and through our lives.

Jesus lived a life of balance. He not only met the needs of those who came to Him; He took time to commune with His Father and seek His will. Doing the Father's will was His uppermost priority. Jesus knew that loving the Father and doing His will as well as loving others with His Father's love would accomplish all that He was sent to earth for.

We are all marred, broken and damaged vessels due to our own sin and the sin of others. But God can restore, renew and recreate us into vessels who reflect His love to others. Jesus came to earth to die for sin and to give us the power of His Holy Spirit to help us learn to love and understand the Father's love and share it with others. Our restoration begins with forgiveness toward all who have hurt us and seeking forgiveness from all whom we have hurt. Jesus spent a lot of time teaching on forgiveness because He knew that forgiveness is the key to being set free to love. As He suffered on the cross, He asked the Father to forgive His crucifiers because they knew not what they did. Jesus saw the principality at work in them, not the people. He knew that He did not fight against flesh and blood but against the principality of Satan in the spiritual realm working through those who crucified Him. He wants those who love and serve Him to also see the principality at work in those who spitefully use us and defeat this principality through the ways of Christ. Love is the most powerful force in the world!

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