Love Above All Else
Read Colossians 3:14 (ESV)
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
How does remembering God’s love for you help you love others the way that God has called you to?
Yesterday, Paul gave us a long list of virtues that we are supposed to “put on” as our new character in Christ. After all, if we are going to bear His name, we need to accurately reflect Him to the watching world.
But following the example of Jesus is not easy. He asked some difficult things of us. He asked us to be compassionate and kind, caring for all people. Especially for those who need it most and even those who don’t deserve it. He asked us to be humble and meek, not allowing pride to affect our ministry to others. He asked us to be patient and bear with one another, giving them the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to make things right. But the really big one is to forgive as He has forgiven us. But how are we supposed to accomplish all of this without becoming legalistic about it?
In today’s verse, Paul gives us the key—love. Jesus is compassionate and kind because He loves us. He is humble and gentle with us because He loves us. He is patient and long-suffering because He loves us. He forgives us because He loves us. So what enables us to treat our neighbors the way Jesus treats us? The supernatural love of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:5 reassures us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The Holy Spirit produces this love in us. It is a grace that is given to us. And it’s this love that unites all of the other virtues of Christ together.
If we emulate Christ in the way that He loves, we will have no problem treating others with kindness and compassion. We’ll humbly consider others more important than ourselves and we’ll be gentle with each other. We will be patient and forgive each other over and over again because we are filled with the love of Christ.
When Paul listed out the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, the first one He mentions is love. When we abide in Christ’s love and let it freely flow out of us, the rest of these virtues follow but without Christ’s love, the rest of these virtues are empty. Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 13. No matter what you have or what you do, if you don’t have love, you have nothing.
Friends, as we clothe ourselves in the virtues of Christ, His love is the most important virtue to put on. It is the love of Jesus that holds the entire ensemble together. It is His love that unites us and makes the body of Christ one. All of Christ’s attributes are valuable. “...but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Jesus, thank You for Your love and for Your perfect example of how to love others. Fill me up with Your love so that it overflows in my life and positively impacts everyone I come into contact with. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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