Summary: Who are the people in my life who need to know that they are loved?
Have you ever considered the impact that you are making for the Kingdom of God on a daily basis? The way that we act and react makes a lasting impression on the people that we come in contact with every day. What kind of an impression are you leaving?
I. The Condition of Love
Love and fear are diametrically opposite principles. No two things can be more opposite than service rendered on the footing of love, and service rendered on the footing of fear. If I am under the influence of fear, I will be inclined to evasion and compromise.
The very essence of love is self-denial and self-surrender. This is a process of our efforts no longer being centered around ourselves, but now the emphasis goes toward other people and God. Love casts out fear because it casts out unhealthy self-consciousness. It organizes personality on a higher, wider plane than self-centeredness.
II. The Compassion of Love
How do we love? It is not merely that we have a natural faculty of loving, and exercise it by letting it go forth on things and persons naturally attractive to us. But, we now have a divine faculty of loving; we love which is of God; which is God’s very nature. We love with a love that goes forth toward things and persons, as they are attractive not to us, but to him.
Corinthians 13 written by a South African Pioneer:Read the following paraphase of 1
"If I have the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not His love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods, and have not His touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to argue successfully against the religions of the people and make fools of them, and have not His wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans, and not His love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing. If I give my clothes and money to them, and have not His love for them, I am nothing.
If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and slights of a missionary life, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisures, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of His love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the Word of the Cross into the language of His love, I am nothing."
What about my brother? Shall I withhold my love until he is all in my eyes that I would like him to be? How would it be with me if God so posponed his love for me?
You see, we are to be mirrors of the love to which we turn to for all blessedness and peace. It is of no use to say, "My religion is the love of God," unless the love of God is manifested in the love of man. If you love God, you will love those that God loves, those for whom Christ died, those who are just like what you were when you learned that God loved you. The service of God IS the service of man.
Neil Strait shares the following illustration:
William Dixon lived in Brackenthwaite, England. he was a widower who had lost his only son. One day he saw that the house of one of his neighbors was on fire. Although the aged owner was rescued, her orphaned grandson was trapped in the blaze. Dixon climbed an iron pipe on the side of the house and lowered the boy to safety. His hand that held on to the pipe was badly burned.
Shortly after the fire, the grandmother died. The townspeople wondered who would care for the boy. Two volunteers appeared before the town council. One was a father who had lost his son and would like to adopt the orphan as his own. William Dixon was to speak next, but instead of saying anything, he merely held up his scarred hand. When the vote was taken, the boy was given to him.
III. The Commitment of Love
Love is not blind--it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.
Consider your answers to this question. Why are we so inhibited in expressing our feelings? Some are afraid they will not be received; others have tried and been rebuffed or misused; others have not had a deep feeling of being loved; others are blocked by self-centered shyness: and still others withhold their love until the other person meets their standards or judgements.