Saturday, November 08, 2008

How do we learn to love?

One of the things my cirlce of friends have been talking a lot about lately is how do we get back to the foundational teaching of Jesus - love God, love people? This post encompasses both of these principles.

Whether you would consider yourself a Christ follower, Christian, religious or none of the above - most people believe the principles found in the Bible are good.

Let’s take some time, to look at the process Peter writes about that leads to loving all people:

2 Peter 1:5-7 ~
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

Peter writes, “make every effort”. This is not some ho hum attempt at getting along, this is full blown commitment to grow in this way. And what’s the growth process (which, by the way, often overlap each other)?

Supplement your…

->Faith (Do I truly trust Jesus?)

-> Moral Excellence (Am I becoming more pure in my thoughts, words and actions?)

-> Knowledge (Am I gaining God’s wisdom to make better decisions?)

-> Self-control (Do I exhibit control over how I interact with others and issues?)

-> Patient Endurance (Am I more patient with people and circumstances?)

-> Godliness (Is my character becoming more like God’s character?)

-> Brotherly Affection (Am I laying my life down for my friends?)

-> Love for everyone (Do I truly love my neighbor?)

Here’s how I view this teaching: As I practice Moral Excellence by trusting Jesus (in Faith), it leads to gaining Knowledge. This Knowledge allows me to gain Moral Wisdom leading to Self-control. By not always just reacting to things around me, I learn to be more Patient; it enables me to Endure difficult times and people. As I Endure, my character becomes more Godly and my reverence/respect for God’s work in my life grows. Since God is Love – my Love begins to grow - first, for other Believers; then for all people. This is the essence of the Great Commandment – to love God and love people. In fact, my love for all people reveals my love for God.

The key to all of this is actually found in verse 3 of 2 Peter 1 - By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

We get to know God through reading the Bible, prayer, and interaction with His church – the people of God.


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