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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Love in Our Hearts MAY 10


A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34.

We are to love as Christ loved. The first transformation effected by the power of the gospel is to make us loving Christians. Our capacity to love becomes noble and unselfish, gentle and gracious. Such love becomes an irresistible drawing power upon others.

Christ enlarges our capacity to love. The devil restricts, debases, and dishonors it. All perversions of love are from the devil. Christ never impoverishes our ability to love. He enriches it. As it is in nature, so it is with our hearts and lives.

No one has ever passed such a judgment on our quality of loving as did Jesus in His acceptance of a harlot, condemning the sin, but offering rescue to the sinner; His making a friend of the thief who was crucified alongside of Him; His glad forgiveness of Peter who had betrayed Him, who prayed for those who crucified Him. Jesus' standard of love prefers a sinner who loves to a "saint" who does not.

We repeat that to love as Christ loved is quite beyond our power and ability. But we can approach it by giving ourselves over to His love and letting it work a response in us. To the degree that we let Christ love us, to that degree we have the capacity to love others. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Gal. 5:22).

Christian compassion and love for others goes to the very root of our relationship with Christ. Christ put this test to Peter at His first meeting with the disciples after His resurrection. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? . . . Feed my sheep" (John 21:15, 16). We must first love our Lord and then we can love people.

It pleased Christ to redeem us in order to make us loving persons. His love forgives all our sins. His love triumphs over the selfishness of our hearts, our impatience, hostility, resentment, jealousy, and envy. His love breaks through into our lives, so much so that we can respond to God and to our fellow men in love. What do we think about most? Is it our business, our money, our pleasures, or people—people who need to meet the love of God in us and be redeemed by it?

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