Summary: How to Become Mature in Christ like Love – I Cor. 13 & Eph. 4:15
How to Become Mature in Christ like Love – I Cor. 13
Eph. 4:15 – Speaking the truth in love let us grow up in all aspects into Christ.
We live in a world that subtly influences our assumptions and perspectives about love. Recognize that we have to overcome the world’s way of thinking about love. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Back in the 80’s Tom Cruise rose to fame in the movie Top Gun where a Righteous Brothers song became very popular. It is the way that most of the media and people in this world tend to think about love. Most TV shows and movies today portray love in this way. (Gesture like Elvis) It goes, “You’ve lost that lovin feeling. Oh that loving feeling. You’ve lost that loving feeling now its gone, gone, gone, whoooowa!” We know that love has an Eros element of sentimental emotions to it.
There is no denying that Eros love has an element of feeling but it can also work to dull the senses:
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, "Dad, I’m going to get married."
"How do you know you’re ready to get married?" asked the father. "Are you in love?"
"I sure am," said the son.
"How do you know you’re in love?" asked the father.
"Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn’t feel the pain until I got home."
Although Eros love has a way of dulling the senses, it can act like Novocain. Eventually, the numbness goes away and we come back to our senses.
Agape love is not a euphoric state that we fall into. Love is a God given overflow of a concern for others that freely accepts them for who they are and seeks their good.
But the kind of love talked about in I Cor. 13 is the agape love that comes from God.
Agape draws its meaning directly from the revelation of God in Christ. It is not a form of natural affection, however, intense, but a supernatural fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is a matter of will rather than feeling (for Christians must love even those they dislike -- Matt. 5:44-48). It is the basic element in Christ-likeness.
Read 1 Corinthians 13 and note what these verses have to say about the primacy (vv. 1-3) and permanence (vv. 8-13) of love; note too the profile of love (vv. 4-7) which we are to exemplify.
Definition - Love is an unconditional concern that freely accepts another and seeks their good. The problem is that many people content themselves in remaining at the lowest maturity level in their love and so become overcome with feelings of hurt, anger, fear or unmet needs or unrealized expectations. Consequently they have a very difficult time loving others because they are so fixated on their problems rather than on allowing the Holy Spirit to love through them. Paul said,
God has not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7) Let us look at five characteristics of that Christ like love if we want to know how to mature in our love for one another.
First, you can replace Christ for the word love in this passage and get a good idea of what agape is all about. Christ endures long, Christ is kind, He does not envy, does not try to impress others, is not conceited etc. (Give them the handout on love). Whenever you really want to grow in love consider how you can think, believe and act more like Christ in each of the fifteen areas on sheet you can have following chapel. (Christ endures long, Christ is kind, Christ is not envious, and He does not try to impress others. Christ is not conceited. Christ is not rude. Christ is not self-centered. Jesus is not touchy or resentful. Jesus does not bring up past offenses. He does not make a big deal of others’ misdeeds. He is genuinely glad when truth prevails. He bears with us through any difficulty. He is ready to believe that God’s best will prevail in our life. His hope is fadeless. He helps us endure every trial.
When you get tired of loving , consider Him who endured such sufferings of sinners against Himself and then you will not become weary or fainthearted in your love. (Heb 12:1-3) Here is a secret tip that might be useful to you:
1. Begin with Praise and Thanksgiving for the Love of Jesus Christ for you. When you praise and thank God for His great love you gain a greater appreciation for who your identity as one who is completely care for by the breadth, length, height and depth of his love. We used to sing the song as kids, “So high you can’t get over it , so low you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get around it. Oh love of my soul.” Eph. 3:14-21 tells us that the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind, relationships, and experiences. It is higher than any mountain that might be standing in your way, it is deeper than any depression we might fall into, it is greater than any problem you will face because His love has no limits. When we praise and thank God for His love in our devotions everyday we gain a greater awareness of our security that helps us weather any discouragement. That is why Paul launches into a great praise of God’s love in Romans 8 where he writes, “Who shall can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. Love helps us not be overcome with evil, but helps us overcome all types of evil with good. True, there will be many things that will try to separate you from God’s love but Praise and thanksgiving for His love remembers that He loves us and He promises to always do so. When we praise God for His love He gives us a richer sense of the benefits that His love accrues to us emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Praise gives us a greater insight into the power, confidence and assurance that He loves provides for us in every situation.