Having finished Saddleback Church’s 40 Days of Love Bible study, I am challenged to apply the biblical principles Jesus taught us through his own personal relationships with others. I’m sure you will be challenged to. Let’s look at four things love does and see how well we do.
Love Extends Grace
Grace is undeserved merit. Forgiven a debt we owe. God showers us with grace through Jesus Christ because we owed a debt of sin we could not pay. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ paid for our sin when He died on the cross in our place. Since we have been given freedom from penalty of death, we are to extend the same kind of grace towards others.
What does extending grace to others look like? It can mean many things in various circumstances. For example say a husband and wife are having a conversation and the husband rolls his eyes as the wife tries to share something about her day. Extending grace might mean she does not hold the “eye rolling” against him but instead lets the “offense” fall to the ground. In another situation extending grace might look like this, you hold your tongue while a co-worker continues complaining about all that’s wrong rather offering suggestions on how to make it right.
Don’t forget to extend grace to yourself. That’s right we need to cut our self a little slack when we mess up. The enemy likes to make us feel terrible about our mistakes, but the truth is Jesus cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Although, we may stumble from time to time, Jesus holds us with His outstretched arms.
Love Expresses Faith
Faith is about believing in what we can not see. It is being confident God will save us though we haven’t seen the end of story yet. You have heard the saying “blind faith.” It probably comes from this notion. Our God is invisible. We can’t see Him with our eyes. We read about Him in the Bible. We pray to Him though we can not physically touch Him. The more we understand God and His Ways the easier it becomes to love and believe Him.
We express faith when we pray. We express faith when we read God’s Word. When we choose God’s Way over our way we demonstrate our faith. But we don’t just express faith in God. We also express faith in others.
What does it look like to express faith in others? Maybe having faith in someone means receiving love from someone who has previously hurt you. Believing they really do love you and choosing to accept their love is expressing faith in them. In other cases, trusting someone enough to share your heart is an example of expressing faith.
Love Expects the Best
Love is optimistic. It looks for the best in others. Love builds up instead of tearing down. Therefore, love will find a way to draw good out of others. One way to expect the best is to give people the benefit of doubt. Don’t automatically assume the worse motives for someone’s behavior towards you. Instead try to assume their motives were pure. We will never know another person’s true motives. Only God knows our intentions and motives. Therefore, we should expect the best in others and let God deal with their motives at the appropriate time.
Love Endures the Worst
This aspect of love is a difficult one. When things get tough, the tough run and hide. But love is different. Love does not flee when relationships get rocky. Love bares all things, believes all things and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love will put up with bad behavior. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love says “I’ll stick with you to the end.”
What does it mean to endure the worst? Perhaps it means forgiving a spouse who cheated on you but has returned to you. Maybe it means sticking with a seriously ill friend until the end comes. In other cases, love endures by visiting an elderly person in a nursing home. It may mean enduring a 3-year-old child’s temper tantrum without screaming in return. Life can be unpleasant, painful and messy. Love endures the worst.
So how did you do? Rate your self on how well you:
Expect the Best
Endure the Worst
Lord God Almighty, we are forever amazed at the depth of your love. Continue your good work in us that we, too, may learn how to love others as you have loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.
In His Grace,
© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries helping you love like Jesus.