1Pet. 1:22 ¶ Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.
What was the expectation of a follower of Jesus Christ? They were to be individuals who lived in obedience to the truth, to Jesus Christ himself. In doing so their lives would be purified because Jesus himself is pure. Walking and living life on the Jesus way results in a transformed life, one in which the very nature of Jesus Christ is revealed in the one who is reflecting him. Jesus’ holy love becomes all consuming and this results in a deep love for the Lord and for others. This is not a worldly kind of love, but a genuine love because it is the very nature found in the Triune God.
Unfortunately participating in the loving nature of Jesus Christ is not what Christianity has necessarily focused upon in the past. This nature of Jesus Christ is to so fill his followers that we exude him. We are to love one another deeply. Notice, this isn’t just saying that we love other believers deeply, but we are to love others deeply. This includes the sinner, or the person that is determined to do harm to us. The love of Christ compels us to take action that reaches out in love.
Within the church we are to have “genuine mutual love.” I think that sometimes we find it easier to love the “sinner” next door than to love the “saint” with whom we attend church. Maybe it’s because we have such high expectations for those within the community of faith that we struggle with their “imperfections.” However, when we experience the intimacy of Jesus Christ then his love looks beyond our imperfections and we are equipped to see past the imperfections of others as well. We are the Lord’s and his love for us overwhelms us and overflows onto those who are around us.
Too often these days we are attracted to the latest program to help transform the church. A program will never transform the church, only God’s love can transform the church. Instead of spending time and energy on the latest program, maybe we ought to get back to the foundational basics of a life of a discipleship. This is a life that requires self-discipline, time and effort, getting to know the Father. It is only in this place of intimacy that we can be filled to overflowing with his love and this will spill out onto those around us become more attractional than any program we could ever invent. This is God’s intention for the church.
When we begin to experience and share the genuine love found in God we, and our world, will be changed. This is God’s program and plan!
Lord, may your love fill me this day. Amen.