What Love Looks Like

Gary Bird
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Where would we be without faith in Jesus? The impact of our eternal destiny hinges on where we place our faith. How about hope, the sister of faith? What kind of life would we have without hope? We would be most miserable. There would be no reason to carry on, no cause to wake up and do our best. Yet, the Bible says there’s something greater than even our faith and hope and that is charity.

Charity is a special kind of love. It’s different from the way we love God, our family, or our spouse. Charity is brotherly love. This love is one that only a group of Christians who serve together can know and experience. The lost see it from the outside and call it “community.” The backslidden Christian longs for it, yet never can duplicate it outside of Christ’s family.

Charity is so important that God makes it clear that without love, our spiritual gifts are nothing.

Consider these things:
• The best preaching in the world means nothing without love.
• Understanding all the mysteries means nothing without love.
• Having all knowledge means nothing without love.
• If you have enough faith to move mountains and lack love, it means nothing.
• Giving away everything you have to the poor will profit you nothing without love.
• Offering yourself to be sacrificed for the cause of Christ without love will profit you nothing.

If we claim to be Bible believers and we lack love, we are an oxymoron. We must have love! So, what are some practical ways for us to tell if we are practicing love? Ask yourself these questions:
1. How do you view the world?
2. When was the last time you helped a brother?
3. How do you treat the fallen?

HOW DO YOU VIEW THE WORLD? - The world is full of problems. Since the time of Noah, sin has abounded. Today, we have problems that children experience that most adults from the past could never even imagine. It’s easy to be upset at the sins of this world, but how do you view those around you who participate in them each day?

Do you remember that you were such as one of them before you found the Lord? Do you recall that if it wasn’t for the grace of God, you would be trapped in the bondage of sin? Christ found you in your godless condition and decided to save you. He loved you despite your sin. Aren’t you thankful for that? I am sure you are rejoicing as you read this if you know Jesus! Yet, we sometimes forget that we need to love others the same way Christ loved us.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HELPED A BROTHER? - Did you know in 1 John 3, we are called to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Wow! I will let you apply that verse as you see fit. However, the next verses get much more practical and easier to apply:

1 John 3:17-18 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

As you attend church each Sunday, do you see a brother in need? We are called to meet that need if we are able! Do you see a child in want? Meet their want. The problem is that most of us practice love in word, but we lack it in deed and truth. A love that is real will act because it’s what’s required. It will meet the need. A love that is in word only will shake its head and say, “I am praying for you.” Love in word never stops to offer a helping hand.

HOW DO YOU TREAT THE FALLEN? - Did you know that a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again? The Christian life is not a game about who has not fallen. If this was the case, we are all losers. The Christian life is measured by how you rebound from your fall.

Peter had some questions around this topic for Jesus because he wasn’t too sure how we could be expected to forgive someone seven times in a row. Was this possible? Jesus told Peter not only we should forgive them seven times, but seventy times seven!

For those keeping count, that’s a whopping 490 times! Thankfully, Jesus didn’t mean to follow the 490 rule literally. If this was the case, we would be in trouble with our standing with God. Jesus was making a point.

The issue we run in to with this topic is we often compare our sin with other sinners. This is a horrible way to gauge where we stand. Only a fool would compare this way. We are called to compare against Christ. When we do this, it gives us a newfound respect for where we stand and what our true nature is.

When we take this approach, we will begin to practice compassion for those who have fallen and help restore them. Those without sin can stand in judgment, but the forgiven stands in love. You that are spiritual, restore the fallen in a spirit of meekness. Read these three questions again and ask yourself if you are living the kind of love God has called us to?

1. How do you view the world?
2. When was the last time you helped a brother?
3. How do you treat the fallen?

If you desire to be fruitful in your Christian life, try leading with love and see what God can do! Remember, no matter what we accomplish for Christ, it’s nothing unless we have charity.

1 Corinthians 13:13b …but the greatest of these is charity.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He assists with multiple minsitries. He and his wife Jessica have four children.

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