Him is to
Love . . .
The key to
IF THERE IS ONE Christian attribute that should stand out above all others, it is the
ability to love. Christians are to love like no other creature on earth. Love is the key
to the Christian life as God intended it. Jesus even said that love would be the telltale
sign of true Christians. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, IF YE HAVE
LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER." John 13:35
Many assume that serving God is the only thing a Christian should be focusing on, but
notice what the Apostle Paul says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of
angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as SOUNDING BRASS, OR A TINKLING
CYMBAL. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not
charity, I AM NOTHING. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though
I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, IT PROFITETH ME NOTHING." 1 Cor.
Servitude, as noble at it is, takes a back seat to love. In fact, if we simply practice love
at all times, the servitude will follow since we will automatically be fulfilling God's law.
"For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, even in this; Thou shalt LOVE THY
NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF." Gal. 5:14
A Christian's love is supposed to surpass the world's definition of love, going beyond
what the world regards as sufficient and reasonable. Jesus said, "But I say unto you
which hear, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES...For if ye love them which love you, WHAT
THANK HAVE YE? for sinners also love those that love them" (Luke 6:27-32). A
Christian's love should be UNCONDITIONAL. The stipulation that, "I'll love them AS
LONG AS THEY either love me back and/or don't take advantage of me," is not the basis
for Christian love. Christian love doesn't worry about the possible consequences to self.
Now, after looking at all this, many will wonder, "Who could possibly practice Christian
love?" Christian love, as described, is self-sacrificial in nature. It is "unnatural" in the
sense that it goes against the human tendency to put self first. In fact, a better word
would be "supernatural," which describes exactly what it takes to practice Christian
love--supernatural intervention. Namely, from God Himself.
The Bible says: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1 John 4:8).
In other words, you or I can't even begin to practice Christian love (the only love the
Bible describes) unless God is intervening and working in our lives--we must first know
We often equate the term "knowing God" with merely being saved, but the word
"knoweth" also means to understand or to perceive. God wants us to know Him
personally. "But let him that glorieth glory in this, THAT HE UNDERSTANDETH AND
KNOWETH ME, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and
righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD" (Jer. 9:24).
By the Jew's definition, true knowledge always manifested itself in one's conduct;
one did not know something until that fact had a practical outworking in his/her life.
Likewise, "knowing God personally" should go beyond merely being saved. According
to 1 John 4:8, it should result in a practical manifestation of Christian love.
Here's why . . .
FIRST OF ALL--TO LOVE OTHERS REQUIRES DYING TO SELF
Dying to self is synonymous with loving others. Dying to self means putting others
before us, which is love in action. The following verses bear this out. "Look not every
man on his own things, but every man also on THE THINGS OF OTHERS" (Phil. 2:4).
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity VAUNTETH NOT ITSELF,
is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, SEEKETH NOT HER OWN" (1 Cor.
13:4-7). "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and NOT
TO PLEASE OURSELVES" (Rom. 15:1). "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking
mine own profit, BUT THE PROFIT OF MANY, that they may be saved." 1 Cor. 10:33
HOWEVER, the major stumbling block to dying to self is self- preservation. The moment
we try to put others before us, our self-preservation kicks in and causes us to hold back.
Self-preservation operates on the fear of being left without, or with "the short end of the
stick." Fear is diametrically opposed to love. "THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE; but perfect
love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in
love." (1 John 4:18). Self-preservation, and its inhibiting fear, must be dealt with if we
are to die to self . . .
THEREFORE--TO DIE TO SELF REQUIRES THAT WE "TRADE"
SELF-PRESERVATION FOR GOD'S PRESERVATION.
Obviously, it is not easy to ignore, or set aside, self-preservation. However, God's way
is for us to exchange self-preservation for HIS PRESERVATION. If we know that God is
looking out for our best interest, then we don't have to look out for ourselves. THAT
FREES US UP TO SACRIFICE as much as we have to for others. For example, when
Christ was apprehended in the garden of Gethsemane, the Bible says in Mat. 26:51-53,
"And, behold, one of them [Peter] which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and
drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then
said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the
sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father,
and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
Jesus could have easily defended Himself. However, He had traded His own self-
preservation for God's preservation: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my
Father[?]" Christ was able to calmly exercise all the love He wanted, without worrying
about Himself. God was looking after Jesus and Jesus confidently knew it! As a saved
child of God, God is looking out for us.
There is no need to practice self-preservation to the extent of acting selfish, and ignoring
the needs of others. The following verse emphasizes this fact. "Let your conversation
be WITHOUT COVETOUSNESS [a fruit of self-preservation]; and be content with such
things as ye have: for he hath said, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.
So that we may boldly say, THE LORD IS MY HELPER, and I WILL NOT FEAR what man
shall do unto me" (Heb. 13:5-6). "There is no fear in love; BUT PERFECT LOVE CASTETH
OUT FEAR: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (1
John 4:8). God's unfeigned PERFECT love will preserve us and thus cast out all fear.
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is
cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal
shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) [i.e. the Gentiles
practice self-preservation] for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all
these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you" (Mat. 6:30-33). "What shall we then say to these
things? IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?" Rom. 8:31-32
HOWEVER, handing over our preservation to God is not the easiest thing to do. The key
ingredient to willingly handing over one's fate, and placing it in someone else's hand, is
THEREFORE--TO SUBMIT TO GOD'S PRESERVATION REQUIRES THAT
WE TRUST HIM. WE MUST HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
We have to trust that God is able--and even desires--to preserve us. When we are fully
confident of that fact, then we are free from having to look out for ourselves and thus
can concentrate on others: "And such TRUST HAVE WE through Christ to God-ward:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our
sufficiency IS OF GOD" (2 Cor. 3:4-5) "FOR I AM PERSUADED, that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be ABLE TO SEPARATE us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38- 39). "For the which cause
I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have
believed, and AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE TO KEEP that which I have committed
unto him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12).
HOWEVER, it is in the area of faith that we always run into a wall. We simply can't
seem to fully trust God. It is here where most Christians advance no further, resolving
to wait until, somehow, their faith increases--if it ever does. But there is a fundamental
reason why we find it hard to fully trust God. And it is here where knowing God,
personally, makes all the difference in the world.
TO FULLY TRUST GOD WE MUST KNOW HIM PERSONALLY!
Think of the people you find it easy to trust; they are typically the ones you know the
best. The better we know someone, the easier it is to predict how they will react under
certain circumstances. Knowing the person's "mode of operation" is vital if we are to
entrust someone with our lives. Paul summed it up best when he said: "For the which
cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: FOR I KNOW WHOM
I HAVE BELIEVED, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have
committed unto him against that day." 2 Tim. 1:12
THEREFORE--THE KEY, TO CHRISTIAN LOVE
IS TO KNOW GOD, PERSONALLY.
This means time spent with Him in prayer and reading His word.
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, and self-righteousness
are all examples of good works that cannot save
you, because, "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a hell-deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
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