Learning to Love Others

children-1149671__480

The more I learn, the more I understand that one of our main purposes while we are here on this earth is to love other people.  That, and to know God. Of course, knowing God is first and foremost, because only by knowing Him do we get a better understanding of what love is.  In 1 John, we are told that someone who claims to love God but “hates his brother,” is a liar (1 John 4:20).  Jesus tells us to go beyond what we are used to and to love not only our neighbor, but also our enemy.  He tells us that when we do that, we are acting like God’s children, and He makes the point that if we only love those who love us, we are not really doing much to stretch ourselves in the way of loving others (Matthew 5:43-48).  In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the many gifts he could have (the ability to prophesy, an understanding of God’s plans, the possession of all knowledge, faith that could move mountains), but points out that without loving others, he would be nothing.  He concludes the chapter with, “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians, 13:1-2, 13).  So, loving others does not seem to be optional in God’s plan, but of primary importance.  I believe that one of the best things we can do when desiring to love others better is to look at the example God has given us, in Jesus.  Jesus was forgiving, patient, compassionate, and humble.  We can also study what the Bible teaches about how to love others better…being slow to speech and quick to listen (James 1:19), giving a gentle answer to turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).  Finally, we can ask God not only for His strength to love others better, but to give us the desire to love others, because sometimes, we are lacking even that.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

The Same Grace

outdoor-2206196__480We can feel free to bring our troubles, anger, frustration, and sadness to God, and we can be assured that He will listen to our every thought and word.  His heart is moved by the things that carve valleys of pain through our souls.  He is there when we weep.  He is there when we ask why.  His understanding and mercy toward us are considerable, and what makes Him great is that they are also considerable toward those we call our enemies.  Can we be okay with that?  Maybe we can.  Maybe we can let it bring us a sense of comfort, knowing that God offers the same grace to all.

“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” – Isaiah 30:18

Truths for Those Times

railway-2562643__480In the past, I have gone to God with anxieties and did not come away from the experience with the peace that I was hoping for.  Instead, my tears seemed to be met with silence.  I was confused and frustrated as to why it seemed God was not responding.  I realize now that in those situations, although it is always a good thing to want to hear from God, it is just as important to turn and hold fast to the truths He has already spoken (and is speaking), through the Bible.  Those truths are just for those times.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ ” – Isaiah 41:13

The Gentleness of God

dove-2347043__480Nearly every day I hear the sound of a dove cooing outside of our window, and each time I hear it, I am reminded of when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus “like a dove” (Luke 3:21-22).  In the book of Matthew, Jesus referred to doves as “harmless” (Matthew 10:16).  So the Spirit of God took on the appearance of a harmless creature as He fell on Jesus.  God is powerful, as we see in the story of the parting of the Red Sea.  He is the Creator of all things and has dominion over all things.  As He reminds Job, He “laid the foundations of the earth” and “kept the sea inside its boundaries”  (Job 38:4, 8).  At the same time, through His Spirit, God chose to appear in the form of harmless dove at Jesus’ baptism.  I’m glad that although God Has the ability to move mountains, He also places value in the gentle, harmless way of a dove.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” – Psalm 18:35

When Words Became Voice

heart-583895__480

I remember that soon after I became a Christian I was impressed by the fact that the Jesus I was coming to know was consistent with the Jesus I was reading about in the Bible.  It was as if the love, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and understanding that He demonstrated, and the truth that He brought had been gently set down inside of me; to teach me, guide me, and comfort me.  The Bible says that when we trust in Jesus to be our Redeemer, God’s Holy Spirit makes His home in our hearts.  This was when the words on the page also became the Voice in my soul.

“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” – Galatians 4:6