To Have Fervent Love

In the New Testament, two of the Church leaders, Peter and Paul, spoke about the same attribute that Christians need in their lives. They encouraged everyone to have love for each other.  It is easy to say, “yes, I have love,” but do we really show love in our actions?

The first Scripture that I want to use is found in 1 Peter 4:7-9: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.“

Peter’s encouragement for us is to be aware that, as we draw closer to the end of this age, there are going to be more opportunities for each of us to show love for one another. But not just love, but fervent love! The word “fervent” can mean, “having or displaying a passionate intensity”—like a fire: hot and burning. Being on fire for showing love is a proper way to think about it. In the letter to Titus, Paul iterates it in a different way but with the same meaning, saying in Titus 2:14 about Christ “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Our use of love in a Godly sense means that we need to be going above and beyond in our love for each other—in prayer, in deeds, in actions, and in our thoughts. We need to be thinking about HOW we can show love more fully. Christ’s warning in the book of Matthew comes to mind where we are warned that as this world grows darker, there is a real danger that the love of true Christians will grow cold; that it will no longer be fervent and zealous (Matthew 24:12).

In what ways can we allow this fervent love for each other to become manifest? We bring this love to fruition by looking for opportunities and then taking action. This is going to be different for each person—but make no mistake: when we take the opportunity to show this love, the immediate impact may be unknown; and yet, it will have lingering effects. In every relationship that we have in this life, the most powerful thing is love. With Godly agape love, we are fulfilling God’s law.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes under inspiration about how this love of God should be manifesting itself. This love is not for us—it is for the people around us. When I review these words from Paul, it becomes apparent how I fail in regard to having these actions show up in every situation. And yet, the opportunities to show and prove this Godly love are there, but we have to take advantage of these opportunities.

These actions of love encourage and help people to deal with life. The life that we each live now is not an easy life, and it will get harder. The challenge for each of us is to grasp that each person, Christian or not, is dealing with the effects of sin. This whole world is under the subjection of Satan and his demons.

We are truly living in the most challenging of times.

This is why I find the following Scriptures encouraging.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says in the New International Version: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

From our children to our elders, we are to be encouraging—and building one another up. It is so much more powerful to show encouragement and solidarity in love than it is in finding fault and tearing each other down. It is so easy to find fault and to tear into people for their wrong doings or failures—but in the long run, we ourselves have just as much failure. There is a common idiom: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. This means, before judging someone, we must understand their experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. It is no easy thing to do. Another idiom is: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

As we spend time and meditate on our opportunities for love, we should realize that God the Father and Jesus Christ show us the ultimate love. We are so blessed to have their example.

1 Peter 2:4-5 tells us: “Coming to Christ as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

This Scripture, paired with 1 Thessalonians 5:11, is very powerful: We are precious in God’s sight. We are worthy of love because He deems it so. And it is because of this knowledge that we can grow in our love for each other and for the God Family.

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