Love has been defined by Hollywood. Hollywood portrays a love that seems to be based on physical attraction. It does not matter how many surgeries, hours at the gym or nutritious plans they may try, they simply must look good to get the man, woman, and the movie of their dreams. By the many divorces that take place, their relationships don’t seem to last. We get the same results when we imitate them. Love technically is not inspired by looks or feelings.
After the American Civil War, General Lee, who was deeply loved of his soldiers, was one day riding in a country district when he was greeted by an old weather-beaten mountaineer. “Ain’t that General Lee?” he inquired as he seized the horse’s bridle. “Yes, sir,” said the General. Asking his old commander to dismount—which he did— the man stood before him and said: “I am one of your old soldiers, General. I want you to let me give three rousing cheers for Marse Robert.” At the first shout, Lee dropped his head with embarrassment. The next yell was choked with sobs as the old soldier dropped on his knees in the dust hugging Lee’s leg, and the third died away in tears. If such devoted love were only given by every soldier of Christ to his Lord how soon victory would be seen! (From Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today Copyright © 1996, 1998 by AMG International, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.)
The general was endeared to this man not because he was on the right side of the political issue but because they fought together, and the man is alive. Loving people, as directed by God, can be a war because God directs us to love our enemies (Romans 12:14-21) and no matter how our wives, husbands or our children act, Christ still directs us to love them (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4). I know this thought is not comforting but remember loving us, by dying on Calvary’s cross was not either. It is not like we live perfect lives now.
God is love (1 John 4:9). We fall in love with Him when we keep His commands (John 13:34=35; 14:15). His commands expose us to trials (Psalm 34:17-19), but when we trust Him through the trials Christ becomes endeared to us (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9). “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-9; NASU) To not love someone is a lack of spiritually maturing fruit (Galatians 5:22), which is a result of not having an intimate experience with God each day (1 John 2:9-10). We need to take our eyes off the person we struggle with and focus on the source of love, God.
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