Merry Christmases don’t just happen – we make them happen. We’re in the seaon of ADVENT, celebrating the coming of Christ to us. And in Scripture one of Christ’s favorite invitations to us is “Come, follow me.” At Christmas we have a great “want to” and “need to” to follow Him – and follow through too. There are many would-be followers who don’t follow through. We follow through as we worship during the four Sundays of ADVENT prior to Christmas Day. In worship at Gateway, our ADVENT theme is God Still Speaks!

God Still Speaks the language of LOVE. The Apostle Paul wrote a front-page, headline truth defining our core need as a human being. Here’s the gist of it: If I have not love, I AM NOTHING. If I have not love, I GAIN NOTHING. You can read this all-clarifying declaration in the Bible in I Corinthians, chapter 13. Why is love the highest and best experience of every human being? Well, we all want to love and be loved – God has put this essential, fulfilling desire into us, it will never cease.

Once, Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is. Remember his reply? He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37,38)

Who are we to love first, most and best according to Jesus? The Lord our God! How can we love Him? By knowing Him in His Word, through His Spirit and with the heart, soul and mind God equipped us to love Him with. Yes, you and I can know and love God! For example, open your Bible to the fourth chapter of the brief letter named I John and discover the nature and reality of love with a capital L. You will be struck by His powerful love for us – and how He wants us to love Him back.

The reason we are to love God first, most and best? All other loves – healthy love of self, married love, family love, neighborly love, brotherly love, sisterly love, friendship love, flow from love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is godly love – not lustful, selfish or worldly. His love flows to us and then must flow through us. This is how we experience loving and being loved – love that lasts.

Love never fails. This is the final word from I Corinthians 13. It never fails because God is love and God never fails. Let’s just skim the powers of God’s love that operate in and through us when we love Him first, most and best in and through Christ:

  • Love is patient. We can overcome problems, panic and paranoia. Love works.
  • Love is kind. We can be Christ-like in our attitude every day – no killer instinct.
  • Love does not envy. We can be zealous for others, not jealous over others.
  • Love does not boast. We can build others up rather than belittle them.
  • Love is not proud. We can admit wrongs, communicate truth and share life.
  • Love is not rude. We can shine the light on others, it’s not just about us after all.
  • Love is not self-seeking. We can find the word “others” in the word “brothers”.
  • Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. We can learn to grow up instead of blow up. We can forgive and create a new future.
  • Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. We are happy when we defeat evil and speak the truth in love – this is really living.
  • Love protects always. We can defend, even sacrifce when we love.
  • Love always trusts. We can build on trust rather than tear down with distrust
  • Love always hopes. We can bring endless hope rather than a hopeless end.
  • Love always perseveres. We can finish well, in spite of anything or anybody.

Like Christmas presents? I encourage you to open an ancient yet contemporary gift from God wrapped in the paper of John 3:16. Discover just how much you are loved! Then love God back.

Love in Christ, Chuck

P.S.: Share your “Love” story? Let me hear from you.