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|Love in Our Hearts||MAY 15|
THE HARMONY OF LOVE AND OBEDIENCE—1
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3.
Love is the great commandment from God. The main work and purpose of the church is to shed the love of God abroad in the earth. In and through the church of Christ is to be manifested the full and final display of the love of God. But the response of love is not exactly under our direct control. We do not love people simply because we will to do so. It is not that simple. Love is something we grow into by being loved. Every true relationship both with God and with people is dependent upon our capacity to love and to accept love. Love is not effective simply by talking about it. We must let God love us and respond to it.
Love costs. There is no such thing as cheap love. Our sinful condition, our situations of envy, jealousy, hostility, anger, can be transformed only by love. Who by taking thought can love his neighbor as himself? Who by taking thought can love all men in all situations? The human situation is too badly out of hand to be overcome by our tugging at our own boot straps. God's first work in and for us is, by loving He gives us the power and the capacity to love. For "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:5). God's love changes us into loving persons.
Love is both response and responsibility. Obedience isolated from love tends toward legalism. Then we take our motivation from the law and not from love. We can never relax our grip on the claims of tire Ten Commandments and our need to obey them. Obedience without love means obedience to the letter of the law, the imposition of rules and regulations from without. In such obedience formal conformity to the law is the main thing. Almost always this makes a mockery of the deeper content of the law and the need for a new heart. Such external obedience exerts a deadly effect upon the human spirit.
We are to be willing to pay the price that love demands: the sacrifice and giving of ourselves. A loving Christian does not use attitudes and emotional devices for the repression of himself or other people. He affirms himself and others as sons and daughters of God, redeemed by love
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