Practice love every day
February 15, 2017 | View PDF
While growing up in eastern Kentucky, I recall hearing about a prison sentence called, “life and a day,” to impose the most severe sentence short of the death penalty.
Elsewhere, the sentence was called, “life without parole.” Merle Haggard sang about that, remembering daily his mother’s love in trying to keep him out of trouble. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Therefore, today, we can celebrate love and a day.
As Christians, we can and should celebrate perfect love every day as we’re reminded of the great things God has done for us in addition to meeting our basic needs of life through his creation (Acts 17:24-25; Matthew 6:25-33). God showed his love for us even before we knew anything about him by sending Jesus to take the death penalty for our sins (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:6-10; 1 John 2:1-2).
Nothing can separate us from that love now (Romans 8:37-39). In fact, love is to be such a part and driving force in our life that others recognize it and know that we’re followers of Christ — those producing the fruit of the Spirit, of which love is mentioned first (John 13:34-35; Galatians 5:22-25). Nothing can amount to anything unless it’s based in love and it’s impossible for us to truly show anyone the love of God without his Spirit who indwells us when we become Christians (1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Acts 2:38-39; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Romans 8:9; John 15:5).
Jesus’ love for us and our love for him compels us to demonstrate our love for others (2 Corinthians 5:11-15; 1 John 3:16-17). Love makes the gospel of salvation attractive to others in hopes of attracting them to follow Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16; Titus 2:10; 1 Peter 2:11-12; 3:13-16).
When someone is released after doing their time in prison, we say they’ve paid their debt to society. Love for God expressed to others is a debt that’s never paid (Romans 13:8).
This Godly love we’re to have isn’t to be limited to those who love us first (1 John 4:19). It’s to extend to those who consider themselves our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17-21; Luke 16:8-9 — Jesus said the steward was commended for his shrewdness, not his dishonesty). Consequently, our goal should be to do good unto all people, to meet their real needs as we have the opportunity (Galatians 6:7-10; Proverbs 3:27-28). This having been said, we’re not to reward evil by doing good, because evil must still be punished as a deterrent to others (Romans 13:1-6; 1 Timothy 5:20-21).
Our Christian faith expressing itself in love toward others will assure that we’ll reap the ultimate reward of love and a day for eternity (Galatians 5:5-6; Matthew 25:31-46). Otherwise, our sentence will be the most severe of life and a day in ultimate torment separated from God’s love (Mark 9:48; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12).
Do you practice love each day because of the love God has for you? He reminds us through creation each day (Romans 1:20; Isaiah 43:20-21; Matthew 6:25-33).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org