Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 23 May 19:
1 Corinthians 16:13, 14 — Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
If someone were to ask you to give an example of manly strength and courage, what would your example be? The Bible says ultimate strength and courage is revealed by genuine love. Genuine love trumps everything else.
Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13)
Genuine love is more amazing than prophetic powers, the ability to do miraculous things, or the willingness to sacrifice everything for a cause. Genuine love is truly incredible. It is not natural; it is supernatural. The Bible says, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us…. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit…. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:12, 13, 16)
God’s greatest command for you is love. And to be clear, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48) God calls you to a radical love that unconditionally loves those who are unloving that God would be glorified and that you would have the opportunity to fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. (Philippians 3:10)
What will happen when you love your enemies as commanded? You are going to get hurt, persecuted and abused. This is why Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
God has indwelt you with His Spirit and empowered you to love with genuine love. Do you have the strength and courage to obey?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 May 19: Love those you know who are hardest to love, make it your aim. Don’t try to do this in your own strength. Pray and rely on the Holy Spirit.