In her album, 'Throne Room', Cece Winans reminds us of the all-important principle of love in the track, 'Without Love'.
Every time I listen to the track, I am reminded that every thing God did for me is motivated by His love. The consequence of this is that I have an obligation to show love to others through my thoughts, deeds and actions.
It is however not that simple. If it was simple and easy, I do not think the Lord would have commanded it.
The first words of the Bible most of us probably heard preached to us, are the words of 1 John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life".
It was the love of God that rescued us out of sin and bondage. It was His love that set us free from the prison that held us bound for so long. It was His love that opened our eyes to the beauty of His grace!
Being therefore recipients of God's love, we are commanded to love others. It would probably have been a bit easy for us if we were meant to love only fellows Christians but Jesus did not limit the reach of love.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt 5:44).
This has continued to be an area of struggle for many Christians. I have heard many questions like, "Why should I bless someone who is all out to harm me? "
Some have been taught to destroy their enemies before their enemies destroy them. Others try to play it safe by praying that their enemies would repent but also add a proviso that "if they do not repent, the Lord should destroy them. "
This write-up is not meant to criticize but to open up a discourse on what is expected of us in line with the word of God. The first command in the verse above is, 'Love your enemies'.
When the Jews were given the command to love their neighbours, they inferred from their laws what God did not command and that is, to hate their enemies. This could mean that you chose who to be your neighbour and love them and then select those who should be your enemies and hate them.
Christ however came to say, "Hey! you are not to love your friends alone, you must love your enemies too! "
I believe this refers strictly to human beings and does not include spirit beings, especially Satan and his fallen angels. Satan is our arch-enemy and it is a forgone conclusion what his future fate would be
What does it mean to love our enemies? I believe it means we should desire good for them even when they desire evil for us. The kind of love being referred to here is the moral kind love as against personal love which you have for someone close.
This kind of love is full of compassion for the other party. It is a deep desire for the good of that person especially in spiritual terms. It becomes easier for us to love our enemies when we realise that we were once enemies of God and strangers from the covenant of promise (Eph 2:12).
Without God's love towards us and also the love of those who prayed for and witnessed to us, we would never have found the joy and privilege we have in Christ.
May God help us to obey His command to love even when it hurts to do so. It is only when we love like this that people will see the light and glory of God manifest in our lives.
"By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another" (John 13:35)
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader, Home Group Leader and Bible Teacher in his local church. He also speaks at invited events. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org