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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Learning to Love Others the Way God Loves Me

In review of 1 Corinthians 13:7 it says, “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.”

Bottom Line:
Love patiently endures, does not lose faith, is always hopeful and never gives up.

What this means to me:
Love God’s way, is the key to how I am to respond to others. It must be a love that would patiently endure, would never give up, and it would always hope for the best in others.

The same love that God gives to me, is what I am to offer to everyone else that I come in contact with. It’s not an option or a suggestion. It’s a command: John 13:34 says, “Now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (NLT).

God’s Word tells me that I must love everybody; whether I like them or not, in the same manner that Christ loves me. This means I am to accept them completely, love them unconditionally, forgive them totally, and consider them extremely valuable. Love executed under these guidelines will ultimately transform my relationships.

Today’s verse reminds me that, “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up” (1 Corinthians 13:7 GW).

This is a statement of how God loves and treats me. God never stops being patient with me, and never stops believing in me. In addition, God never stops hoping for the best for me and my life. More importantly, He will never gives up on me. This is what God expects me to do with everybody else I encounter.

So, when it says, “Love never stops being patient.” This means a love that extends grace. I need to offer grace to others, regardless.

“Love never stops believing.” This means it expresses faith. I communicate to others that, “Even though we’re having a tough time, I will never stop believing in you.”

“Love never stops hoping.” This means love expects the best. Am I expecting the best in my relationships, or have I settled for less than the best?

“Love never gives up.” This means love endures the worst. It means I can look at the other person and say, “You can throw everything at me, but I’m going to keep loving you, no matter what.”

Wow, given my natural inclination this will require some conscious effort and prayer.  Given that, today I start by praying, “God, I admit that I have not given as much priority in relationships that I should. They are at times complicated and broken, and I’ve often settled for less than the best. They need a transformation! I’d like you to begin by changing me. Deliver me from my fears, because I can see how they make me distant and defensive and even demanding. Today and every day from now on, I want to surrender my heart to you. I want to learn to live my life in your love and be filled with your love.”

Furthermore, I ask you God to “help me to accept others, just as you've accepted me. Help me to love others unconditionally, just as you have loved me. Help me to forgive others totally, just as you've forgiven me. And help me to value others as much as you value me. Help me to extend grace to and express faith in the people around me. Help me to expect the best in others, and help me to endure the worst when it happens. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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