Saturday, January 26, 2013
Christian Growth in Love
As one of my homework assignments I am studying II Peter 1: 2 to 8. One of my observations is that sanctification is not easy work but requires much diligence. The Christian lives on a battleground not a play ground. The flesh wages war against the Spirit. The deeds of the flesh are antithetical to the Spirit's fruit. Some of the marks of a believer given in this passage include: faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. The opposite of these virtues is worldly corruption. The passage is very direct in stating that if we don't pursue these qualities intently we are rendered useless or unfruitful.
The Spirit of the Gospel cuts right through our selfish natures. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, mind, body and soul and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Note that self love is the standard. We loves ourselves all too well. Scripture repeatedly indicts the believer to die to self and to live to the Spirit. Love is often defined as giving someone what they need (note: not want) because you have it to give and it pleases God.
Love is active not passive. In fact, I Corinthians 13 defines love in terms of active verbs and not some sentimental emotion. Love is patient, kind, not jealous, doesn't brag and is not arrogant. Love is not unbecoming nor seeks its own. It is not easily provoked and refuses to take a wrong into account. Love doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It is the greatest of Christian virtues for it never fails. May we all strive to do our part in the sanctification process. May we all be grateful that the Spirit works also in process. The ultimate end is that we emerge looking a bit more like the Lord and Savior.