Shonebarger

I am challenged every day to step up and love people unconditionally. The beloved Apostle Paul teaches the members of the Corinthian church in the New Testament, that demonstrations of benevolence, spiritual gifts and martyrdom are worthless, if they are not demonstrated in charity. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). It may be surprising to many, but Almighty God weighs the motives of our heart above the weight of our actions.

Charity is the primary virtue in Christianity and it is the cornerstone of our service to our fellowman. Authentic Christianity wraps all of its actions, attitudes, and attributes in sacrificial love. It is generously offered, regardless of the recipient’s worthiness or history. This benevolent, sacrificial love, is the very heartbeat of Jesus Christ.

Careful soul searching will reveal our genuine heart’s attitude toward others. Forgiveness, reconciliation and healing are all requirements for healthy relationships. Jesus COMMANDED us to forgive others, as He has forgiven us.

Multitudes of people refuse to release others of their offense. As a result, they are imprisoned and tormented by hurtful acts of the past. The stronghold of unforgiveness poisons their mind and paralyzes their progress. It can be broken through forgiveness.

The vital obedience of forgiveness will prevent bitterness, resentment and retaliation from gripping our lives. We must do the work of repenting of our past attitudes and inappropriate behaviors. We must be set free. In addition, we must also “bless and release” the guilty party of their offense, in order to heal

our broken hearts.

The child of God is taught that Christ-like love is patient and kind. Let us examine the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Take note of His interpersonal relationships. His example serves as the template for our lives. By His grace, our efforts of kindness and patience will be blessed and rewarded, for His glory.

Additional illustrations of Christ-like love are taught in 1 Corinthians. We are taught to not be jealous, boastful, prideful or rude. We are not to demand our own way. We are not to be grouchy! We are not to keep a register of the wrongs we have received at the hands of others. We must never rejoice in failures or injustices, but rejoice when truth triumphs. Love never quits, loses hope or fails to believe. Love hangs tough through every trial.

How is it possible for us to love, like this? The answer is through choosing to love!

Love in authentic Christianity is not based upon feelings. Love is based upon a relationship with Jesus Christ who lives in the heart of every believer. The Christian chooses for Christ to live His love through them. Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, who works in the child of God. When we fail, we confess it and get our hearts right with God. A commitment to God each day to love as He loves, is essential for success.

What the world needs now, is wholehearted demonstrations of God’s love. Let us love one another. By this shall all men know that we are Christians. Have a great week!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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