"To love or not to love...that is the question" -- NOT!
To love as CHRIST loves or not to love as CHRIST loves...THAT is the question. (The word love is in the present tense for JESUS lives.)
How does JESUS love? How does JESUS exemplify true love?
i am a painter of GOD-words (http://ad-for-god.blogspot.com). If i were to paint a portrait of JESUS, using words like brush strokes to describe Him and how He loves, i would find fitting words in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a -- the greatest description of true love ever penned.
The Holy SPIRIT of GOD was the inspiration behind the Apostle Paul's beautiful definition of agape -- unselfish, sacrificial love. GOD the SPIRIT painted a portrait of CHRIST in 1 Corinthians 13 -- the "love" chapter of the New Testament.
JESUS, the CHRIST, is GOD's perfect love manifested in sinless flesh. JESUS is perfect love personified. JESUS is 1 Corinthians 13.
JESUS is patient (with people) and is kind (gracious to people with generosity). JESUS does not envy; JESUS does not parade (brag about) Himself; He is not puffed up (arrogant); JESUS does not behave rudely (or is overbearing); He does not seek His own (but selflessly serves others), He is not provoked (or irritated or angered in personal offense), He thinks no evil -- keeps no record of wrongs; JESUS does not rejoice in iniquity (He finds no pleasure in someone else's sin, even the sin of an enemy), but He rejoices in the truth (He is devoted to the truth).
JESUS bears (protects) all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (within GOD's righteous and gracious will). JESUS never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a in red; per John MacArthur in blue)
Back to the question, "To love or not to love" -- as CHRIST JESUS loves.
Love is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. Love is of GOD -- it is divine. Love is what makes life worth living. To NOT love is to miss out on the real and abundant life.
Love is a verb -- love is action. It's like faith -- good works is the result of faith in action. Sacrificial, unselfish deeds for others is the result of love in action. So how does one live out agape love?
One must honestly examine oneself. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, replace the word "love" with your name (as i did above, replacing "love" with JESUS). Can one truly and consistently live out all the above qualities of true Love -- agape love? Can one be Love as JESUS was the perfect portrait of Love...even to the death?
You can't and i can't...no one can -- except CHRIST JESUS.
But the Holy SPIRIT -- Omnipotent GOD -- can empower self-seeking mortals to love as JESUS loves. When a repentant sinner believes and trusts in JESUS as LORD and Savior, he receives the Holy SPIRIT to dwell within, empowering the believer to live out the Life of JESUS, which is love in action.
(Receiving the gift of the Holy SPIRIT is as simple as repenting -- changing one's mind about sin, truly seeing one's sin as GOD sees it, and turning to GOD for forgiveness, asking JESUS to come into his heart to be LORD and Master of his life. Or redemption may NOT be so simple if one's pride or self-righteousness blinds oneself to the need of the Redeemer.)
True love, agape, is from above -- from GOD the Father Who gave the Son, Who gave His life to redeem whosoever is willing to trust Him as LORD, Who sent the Holy SPIRIT to empower the believer to live out in actuality the new life of true Love.
To love JESUS or not to love JESUS, THAT is the question.
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