Friday, August 14, 2009

Love, your basic, all-purpose garment

by Melissa Milbourn

This weeks verse: 1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. (NLT) emphasis mine.


As a Christian, I’m amazed by God. I’m amazed by his power, his omnipotence, his grace, his mercy, and I could go on and on…but mostly I’m amazed by his love.

I’m amazed by his love for me…but what really amazes me is how He loves through me. How he will lay someone on my heart, and cause me to love them. The love I feel in that situation is unlike any love I’ve ever felt. The best way I can describe it, is to use words that I heard Henry Blackaby say, “It’s as if God lays His heart over my heart.” When I love like that, His love for that person consumes me.

Paul and Epaphras understood this. In Colossians chapter one Paul is talking to the church of Colosse and He’s commending them, among other things, on how well they’ve loved, as he says this, “He (Epaphras) has told us about the love for others that the Holy spirit Has given you.” (NLT) Yes, the Holy Spirit causes us to love others, and when He does…it is powerful.

But love is also a choice we make. It’s a lifestyle we choose to live. It’s an attitude we choose to take. In the letter that Paul writes to the church of Colosse, He says, “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it". Colossians 3:12 (MSG)

When God is loving someone through us, that is awesome!! But when we don’t necessarily feel that, we need to choose it anyway. We need to grab the garment of love and clothe ourselves in that. That’s the basic all purpose outfit that we need to wear daily…never be without it.

“Father thank you for the times that you are literally loving someone through us…I love that. I love the fact that you give us a glimpse of your love for others. And Father let me tell you, that your ‘glimpse’ overwhelms me. But Father, in those times when it’s hard for us to love, help us to choose love anyway. Help us to clothe ourselves with it daily, and then walk in it daily. Holy Spirit I need your help in that…Father I submit myself to you, lay your heart over my heart…in Jesus name…”

Application: Remember this…love is a choice, not a feeling. Make the decision to love. Here’s some ways to know if we are choosing love (based on 1 Corinthians 13) (Lord help me :-)

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Power Verses:

1 John 4:19 "We love each other because he loved us first". NLT

Ephesians 5:1-2 "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." (MSG)


Kathy said...

I LOVE this! (no pun intended) It's makes me see how ridiculous it is to get so hung up on what to do/what not to do to be "good Christians". If we can just master this one thing--LOVE--then we'll truly be Christ-like. But it's a doozy of a one thing, isn't it? :-) Awesome reminder.

Dawn said...

Oh so true!!! I have to share with you that I read this devo before evening service and guess what the message was on....LOVE. We are in a series on "The Greatest" basically looking at the things that Jesus called greatest. Tonight was the greatest commandments...First, love God and then the second is like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself. The highlight of tonight was that the way we demonstrate our love for God is through loving others. Jesus Himself taught that what you do to the least of these you have done unto me. Great devo...thanks for sharing.

JHerald said...

Beautifully said! Having had God place His heart over mine and experiece His love for another was so overwhelming. At the time I was unprepared, but followed where God was leading me both in thought and prayer for people who were strangers to me, yet I felt such a "knowing" love for them. At times I could even feel their pain or emptiness. It was as awesome and overwheling as it was unexplainable. I love how you so neatly wrapped this into a choice not a feeling. I will hold onto this perspective throughout life. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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