|sincere love of the brethren
||[Sep. 9th, 2008|08:34 am]
1 Peter 1:22-23 reads:
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
I know this verse by heart, memorized it by accident back when I was a new believer. Yet, this week I've been avoiding this particular verse. It is strange to find within me both a love for, and a shying away from, the Word of God.
I remember the first time I read this passage. It didn't find within me a "love for the brethren." My heart was full of fears and insecurities and jealousy. I had my own personal sibling rivalry with the family of God. It was so freeing to have the Word of God challenge and purge my heart. It was so freeing to discover that everyone else need not change so that I could feel free, loved, and accepted. No, merely my heart environment needed to change. It is also a wonderful feeling to recognize that I can "be the grown up" in a situation; that, I can choose the path of spiritual maturity and be the one to love and forgive first, even if others never get a clue.
So why do I shirk back today? Because I have set my heart to love as Christ called us to, I thought I loved as Christ prayed we would. And naively, foolishly, I expected that the end result in my life would be that I'd become part of one happy family. What did I get out of it? What was I met with? Some of the sufferings of Christ, of course. Even so, in the sufferings of Christ, there is fellowship with Him, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew this, he lived there, and his commitment to live there made him useful in God's hand and a blessing to the rest of the Body of Christ.
It is easy to love you. It is easy to love your son, yet you call us to love each other, and it is in this commitment, and only in this commitment, to love as you love, that we can be transformed into your likeness. forgive me; I have shirked back. I've allowed indifference to creep into my heart, to shield myself from potential hurts, instead of trusting you the Healer of the brokenhearted. Please, help me to be willing to put my heart on the line again, to love as you loved, to stop waiting for others to change, to love them as they are, as you love me. In all of this help me to put my trust in you, not in my naive expectations, to love unconditionally, trusting all the results to you, to be seen in heaven. For truly, if my love is based on seeing some results, some change to gratify and heal me, then it isn't yet Your love reaching others through me. Lord, you see the limits of my love, I consent to your commandments to love, please come in and help make up the difference. Cause your love in me to bridge the gap, where my own love has failed. Help me to be satisfied if the only result is my own obedience to Your Word and Your call. Help me as I set my heart to once again obey your most beautiful words. Amen.
( 1 Peter 1:17-25Collapse )