34So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
-John 13.34-35 (NLT)
One thing that I know plagues our churches is the lack of love for one another. Jealousy, pride, anger, murmuring, gossip, and rebellion are all a result of the lack of love in the church for our brothers and sisters. Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (and we all know that is a lot of love!), and with that commandment Christ declared that the world would know we truly are Christians because of our love for one another.
I know in my life, loving everyone is something that I deal with a lot. Many times in my life I am faced with situations where a friend backstabs me, or there is someone I am jealous of, or someone offends me and makes me angry. It is hard to face some of these problems with love, but learning to crucify my flesh in these instances is what being a disciple of Christ is about. To love people who have wronged me is the most christ-like thing I can learn as a follower of Christ, especially when those people are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
-1 Corinthians 13.4-7 (NLT)
1 Corinthians 13 lays out the amazing characteristics of what love is supposed to be. Some of us lack in this, and others are growing in this daily. It is all part of communication with God.
As we pray and talk with God, God pours out His love. We begin to imitate His ways of love and grace and execute them over our brothers and sisters. You can not give out something you don't have, and as scripture says, as freely as you receive, freely you give out.
We need to crucify our flesh daily and learn to love. It is a commandment of God and something we will deal with daily. It can be hard, but through Christ it is possible.
No one becomes perfect overnight, no one becomes like Christ (according to His awesome character), it takes time on God's part and your part. It takes fire and trials and building up and tearing down the things that aren't God. It takes prayer and endurance, faith and hope.
Just remember to love. Always love.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. -Ephesians 5.1-2 (NASB)