Most Christians, if asked, would say that they love everyone. After all, God is love and He has commanded us to love one another. God's love (agape love) is revealed in acts of goodness and self-sacrifice. These are acts of ongoing love towards others, without restrictions. To our shame, it seems easier to love those who do not know Christ than to love those who are of the "household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). Christ commands us to love Him with, "all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves" (Mt. 22:37-39). God goes so far as to challenge us as believers not to just tolerate our enemies, but to love our enemies.
Just this past week, I was rebuked and challenged by the apostle Paul about the priority of demonstrating Christ-like love towards others (1 Corinthians 13). Paul was addressing believers and their relationship towards other believers. Much emphasis is typically given towards the spiritual gifts in the church in this passage of Scripture. However, there is a higher priority that drives everything we do in life, especially as it relates to the church. This priority is that in everything we say and do that the love of Christ pours from our lives. I recall a quote I wrote down in my Bible over 25 years ago: "You love Jesus Christ only as much as you love the one that you love the least." You may need to read that again in order to process it. I can't even imagine how much God's heart must ache by the lack of love that we give towards others. We often feel justified; however, Scripture tells us that "God gave His love towards us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). There were no restrictions set by Christ! Praise God!!!
Consider with me these truths about Biblical Love found in 1 Corintians 13:4-6. Unquestionably, the concept of love can more easily be explained in terms of what it is not, than what it is. Paul describes the concept of love in a poetically arranged paragraph (vv. 4–6).
Love is patient and is kind.
Love is not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant.
Love does not behave indecently,
does not seek its own things,
does not become irritated,
does not keep a record of evil,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices in the truth
covers all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Would you prayerfully pray through these verses with me and consider how we could be a portrayal of love that reflects Christ-likeness. This is indeed a life-long journey! Be prepared as God stretches you to be a better lover of all men! Love is so powerful in carrying the work of God forward. I personally pray that when others think of me that they would think of me as a "loving" person.
Personal Prayer: "Father, forgive me for my lack of love as I fail to share, and express love towards others (especially my brothers and sisters in Christ) due to a lack of concern, pride, and being self-absorbed with my own life."