Love for Everyone!

“Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33-34a NLT)

It’s no accident that Peter, as he outlines the “path” to living a holy life, culminates the process with love. Love is the context out of which everything of eternal value is accomplished. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 seeks to paint a picture of love and lists a lot of remarkable things that we can do, but if we do them without love they are “useless.”

Love is the language of heaven, thus, the language of Jesus followers. Love is the evidence that what I say I believe about Jesus is true. Love includes, it doesn’t isolate or divide. As Christ followers our heart is to embrace other believers as family. God loves diversity, so if you can’t open your heart and arms to those in the Body of Christ who are different than you, you probably won’t like heaven.

The children of Israel were a small group whom God chose to be His people. It was through the lineage of King David that the Messiah came, and God’s love for His chosen people was a “shadow” or “type” of the love He had in mind for Christ’s Body, the Church.

God’s design and desire was for the nation of Israel to be unique in the sense that the nations of the world could view the Jewish people and see clearly who He was through the way they lived and treated one another. That’s God’s desire as He views the Church today.

The people of the world who don’t know Jesus should be able to view our lives as His followers, individually and collectively, and catch glimpses of who Jesus is. That’s the value of living a holy life. The more closely our lives can resemble the life of our Savior, the easier it will be for those who don’t yet know Him, to recognize their need of Him.

But when professing believers live like the devil, treating each other with hatred and disdain, it not only breaks the heart of God, but it also defiles the blood spilled for our salvation. John writes in 1 John 3:14-15: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”

Love can be hard. It’s not automatic. It doesn’t flow out of filthy vessels, that’s why our longing and heart’s greatest desire must be to magnify God’s glory through our love for others. Love gives and forgives; it seeks to make much of Jesus and less of ourselves, by putting others’ needs ahead of our own.

There’s a line in a Christian song I hear on The Message that says something to the effect: “We’re supposed to love our enemies, but we don’t even love our friends.” That’s a sad commentary on the state of the Church in America.

Years ago, I read a headline that gave a man’s name and said: “’He was elected Husband and Father of the Year.’ His wife and children were the judges.” I want more than anything else to please my Father in heaven, but if in my urgency to please Him I lose my family, I’ve failed miserably to love like Jesus.

Our pursuit of God and determination to live a holy, separated life, should cement us to our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that together we can magnify the glory of our Savior. Not by pretending we’re better than those who don’t yet believe, but by offering such an inviting and inclusive love for everyone, that they find it easy to see and love Jesus. That is my prayer.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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