"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." word of Jesus in Matthew 5:46-48
Consider these words:
"I was hungry, and you formed a humanities club to discuss it. I was imprisoned, but you complained about the crime rate. I was naked, and you debated the morality of my appearance. I was sick, and you thanked God for your health. I was homeless and you preached to me about the shelter of God's love. You seem so holy and so close to God; but I'm still hungry, lonely, cold and in pain. Does it matter?"
This is love in action:
>Feeding the homeless with the Word of God by having small bibles handy in our cars, together with protein bars and water bottles, ready to hand-out to them as we see them begging. This is an act of love---it's a time investment. What we invest in with our time shows where our treasures are. The very act of buying these items is an act of love and it will raise our level of awareness of the need for sharing the gospel with the homeless; we will "see" them everywhere on the streets and have something that is life-altering to give to them.
>Praying for the man that cut us off on the freeway and maybe even displayed an obscene gesture: "Lord, please forgive me for my moment of anger; I pray that you will bless that man with an overwhelming sense of peace and joy; let him get to where he is going safely. Fill his heart with a gentleness and put someone or something in his path today that will cause him to consider You and hunger to pursue You. Amen."
>Choosing meekness in place of always needing to be right in our conversations with those we love. The world says meekness is weakness; God says meekness is STRENGTH because it involves self-control which is another fruit of the Spirit! Allowing someone to be right and letting go of our "need" to prove our point is choosing LOVE. Besides, the need to always be right is pride...God hates pride.
>Letting go of our selfish nature in always needing to be "first": first in line; first in everything; racing ahead of the other cars in the parking lot to get "the parking spot". Practice "giving up" that parking spot...practice putting othersrs first...choose to be last in line at pot luck or at the movies. Give someone else the best...choose the least. This is true love in action.
>Standing up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ even in a situation where we are all alone in our belief. Sharing His name, His story, His plan of redemption with someone that may condemn and persecute us for it.
>Praying for the very people that hurt someone we love. Praying for their very salvation and conversion to Christ or a deeper walk with Christ. Prayers for those that hurt us, persecute us, hate us or in any way harm us actually TRANSFORM our lives! Praying in this way is choosing LOVE and obeying God in His commandment to love our neighbors!
TRUE LOVE IS DYING TO SELF and putting others ahead of ourselves. TRUE LOVE IS unconditional---it isn't based on someone else loving us back. TRUE LOVE is praying for our enemies---praying for them transforms us!
"Lord, please give me opportunities to love others today. Teach me to choose love and to share love. Show me how to put everyone else first; give me a humble heart and bless those around me, through me! I can't do it without Your help and I admit that my own nature is selfish; please transform me into Your likeness. Love others through me. Amen."
NEXT TIME (this weekend): FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT---JOY