Love Without Limits (I Corinthians 13:7)
I Corinthians 13:7, “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
A little girl got home from Sunday school, where she had been taught the verse, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in Heaven.” She asked her mother when she repeated the verse what it meant. Her mom said, "Well, it means that when you are good and kind and thoughtful and obedient, you are letting Christ's light shine in your life before all who know you." The very next Sunday in Sunday school, the little girl got into a bit of a quarrel with another student and created somewhat of an uproar—to such an extent that the Sunday school teacher had to go and find her mother to get her settled down a bit in the class. Her mother was concerned when she got to the classroom and said, "Sweetie, don't you remember about letting your light shine for the Lord before men?" The girl blurted out, "Mom, I have blowed myself out." Many of us have done just that. In our relationship with Christ, our love light has gone out. Worship for the Lord becomes empty when your love for Him declines. This was a problem in the church at Ephesus, which was a good church. They lost their passion and excitement for Christ.
The word "beareth" means "to cover, protect, to put a roof over something, or to conceal the errors and faults of others." Love does not avenge wrongs that are done to you, or seek revenge. Love doesn't have the attitude, "I will make them pay for that!" Love finds ways to forgive and to forget. Our Lord did this for us when He died on the cross crying out, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Love is hopeful in all things. In spite of trials, difficulties, discouragement, and the feeling of failure, love keeps on going because of the strength it has from hopefulness. Love is persistent in being gentle and kind. Love remains under the load no matter how long it takes and no matter what else is piled on top. Love bears up courageously no matter what the suffering. It does not quit but keeps on keeping on in spite of burdens, setbacks, defeats, and pressing circumstances.
Revelation 2:4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”This was a problem with Jonah, who ran in the opposite direction when God commanded him to go to Nineveh. It was also a problem with Peter after he denied the Lord. These men lost an attitude of preciousness toward the Lord. Their love diminished for Him. You would think this would never happen, but it happens every day. Other matters, things, or people become more important than Christ, who gets put on the back burner of our lives.
Consider this mission statement of a well-known university: "To be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of your life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ." Wow! That is a great statement! Founded in 1636, this university employed exclusively Christian professors, emphasized character formation in its student above all else, and placed a strong emphasis on equipping ministers to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Every diploma read, Christo et Ecclesiae around the word Veritas, meaning "Truth for Christ and the Church." You've probably heard of this school. It's called Harvard University. That's right. You heard it right… Harvard. Only 80 years after its founding, a group of New England pastors sensed Harvard had drifted too far for their liking. It spiritually had become bankrupt. Concerned by the secularization at Harvard, they approached a wealthy philanthropist who shared their concerns. This man, Elihu Yale, financed their efforts in 1718, and they called the college Yale University. Yale's motto was not just Veritas (truth) like Harvard, but Lux et Veritas (light and truth). Today, Harvard's and Yale's legacy of academic excellence are still intact, but neither school resembles what their founders envisioned. At the 350th anniversary celebration of Harvard, Steven Muller, former president of Johns Hopkins University, bluntly stated, "The bad news is the university has become godless." Harvard's and Yale's founders were unmistakably clear in their goals: academic excellence and Christian formation. Today, they do something very different from their founding purpose. What happened to Harvard and Yale is called "Mission Drift." They had lost their first love for the Lord.
Jesus told the church of Ephesus what they needed to do to correct the problem. Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” They were to remember, repent, and repeat. If you have lost your first love for Christ, if your worship is empty, then remember, repent and repeat the good things you are supposed to do. May our devotion for Him not be hollow and heartless.
1. Let Your Love Show (Matthew 5:14-16)
Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
2. Let Your Love Grow (John 13:35).
John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
3. Let Your Love Flow (Galatians 5:13).
Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
PRAYER: LORD, I thank You for loving me unconditionally with a supernatural love. May my love for You grow and be shown in my love for those You have given me. The more I read Your love letter, the Bible, the more I come to know You and understand how much You love me. I pray I never lose the desire to dig each day in Your Word and also to share Your love letter, the Bible, with others. I know the power of Your love can impact someone today so, help me take the time to show it to someone today. In Jesus name AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.