Our Heavenly Father wants us to be filled with His Love and to show that love to others through our Words and Actions! Colossians 3:12-15 are beautiful verses to meditate upon and apply to our lives daily! “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on Love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Our love for God will be manifested in our devotion and obedience to Him. (John 14:23 “If you love me keep my commandments.”) That devotion must include prioritizing our daily schedule so we seek Him first! Yes, we absolutely must study, pray, meditate upon God’s Word on a regular basis or we are not showing love toward God. Also, this devotion we have towards God will (if it is real) find its outward expression in loving one another. The love we show our neighbor validates whether our devotion to God is genuine. I John 4:20-21 tells us: “For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” And He has given us the command: “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Remember love is displayed in our words and actions. Is there anyone we do not love? If there is, are we not then saying to God, I do not love you enough to love that person?
We must be willing to do those things that love dictates (contained in I Corinthians 13) in every one of our relationships and encounters in life. Romans 13:10 commands us that we must do no harm to our neighbor. We must meet our neighbor’s needs and forgive our neighbor’s wrongs against us. We must put his interests before our own and we must reach out and embrace our brother in Christ. All of this is only possible as we, through faith, depend on the Holy Spirit, who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose. Are there any people in your life you do not show love to in word, thought or action? God requires that we change immediately, if there are.
An essential ingredient of the Christian character trait of love that we all seek is the attitude of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness can, if neglected, cause great harm to the Body of Christ. Our pursuit of unity and holiness (spiritual growth) in obedience to the Lord’s command will be useless if we neglect forgiveness. Why is forgiveness so important in every aspect of our lives? Because people are not perfect in the church or outside in the world. There will be sins, imperfections, misunderstandings, errors, misjudgments and wrong attitudes in every relationship we enter, especially in the church. The sign of a mature believer is that he senses the need to have a forgiving spirit in the church. Unforgiving attitudes if not repented of will invariably lead to a lack of unity and fellowship among believers, a loss of real spiritual power and a loss of the joy and peace that we all should experience through God’s Holy Spirit. A church will become very harsh, rigid and bitter and this can lead to holding grudges and a proud spirit if this spirit is allowed to remain.
Brethren, if we could but comprehend that there is little that affects our relationships with God and man so profoundly and adversely as an unforgiving spirit. Holding a grudge over something, or against someone, has a tendency to dominate our lives. We may be in self denial as is often the case. No one ever wants to admit to being unforgiving and bitter in their spirit. Unfortunately if we are honest, it does happen and God hates it when it is allowed to exist in the lives of His saints and church. Repentance is required on our part whenever this attitude slips into our lives!
God’s desire for us is that we live a life holy and pleasing unto Him. What is a Holy Life? Holiness is hating what God hates, loving what He loves and measuring everything in the world by the standard of His Word. The endeavor of our life should be to shun every known sin and to keep every known commandment. A Holy person will have a heavy desire to do God’s will, to strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him and draw from Him all His daily peace and strength, but also labor to have that mind that was in Him!
Our aim should always be to forbear with and forgive others – to be unselfish – to walk in love – to be lowly minded and humble, to follow after meekness, long-suffering, gentleness, patience, kindness, and to control the tongue. To live a life of charity and loving kindness, always endeavoring to observe the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
The Apostle James was very concerned about professing Christians whose lives have presumably been changed by the Holy Spirit of God, but from whose mouths come bitter, angry words. “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” James 3:8-11
To bless is to speak well of someone. Unfortunately Christians do not always speak well of or speak well to other believers. In fact, we may even curse them. James is using the word curse to include words that cause other people harm, whether we wish them to or not. This would involve any destructive words, such as angry, critical, cutting, accusing, belittling or gossiping words. They cause harm! It grieves God when we participate in gossip, slander, backbiting, tale bearing and rumor mongering either as the one who does it or the one who listens to it.
A Holy Person’s motivating aim, passion and desire is to please God, both by what he does and by what he avoids doing. In other words we must strive to practice good works and cut out all evil works. Our goal is to be conformed into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must lay to heart the saying of the Apostle John. “He that abideth in Christ, ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” I John 2:6
We must hate all sin, especially lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty and unfair dealings even in the least things. These are Satan’s favorite tools for destroying love and unity in personal lives, families and churches. Let us all strive to follow after humility. To desire lowliness of mind, as we esteem others better than ourselves. Examine your own life by the holy standard of God’s Word! Don’t worry about what others are doing; God is going to hold you and me accountable for our own words, thoughts and actions, not those of others. May we all strive to be the best husbands, wives, parents, children, neighbors, friends, workers we can possibly be. Especially in how we speak to and treat each other.
Living a life of Holiness, Love and Forgiveness is possible if we will but follow after a daily regimen of spiritual disciplines. Setting our affections on those things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Lay up treasures in heaven by communing with God in Prayer through His Word and in true fellowship with other saints. Becoming the person God wants us to be will happen only as we draw near to our Savior each and every day.
May our daily prayer be that God would search out our hearts and expose any attitude or action that hinders our pursuit of Holiness. Ask God to give you a heart of forgiveness and love toward everyone, especially unto those of the household of Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 12:25;”Heaviness (anxiety, fear, sorrow) in the heart of a man makes it stoop (fall down, be discouraged), but a good word (encouraging word) makes it glad.” (lifts the spirits, cheers up)
Choose to Become a Christian who speaks words that comfort, console, and heal. Use your mouth to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free. Most of the time in relationships it just takes the right word to bring healing and reconciliation. It might be I’m sorry – forgive me or I love you – I forgive you. Nothing fancy or dramatic, just the needed word at the perfect moment expressed with kindness and love will perform miracles. If we will make a commitment today to using our tongue in the biblical way, we can change the world beginning with our marriage, family, and church into a spiritually dynamic example of what God’s love can do!