Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Love versus Strife

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”

Proverbs 17:14
 

Love cannot be embittered, so as to be provoked to wrath (1 Corinthians 13:5) – it has to do with manners and self-control. There is a loveless wrath which has more to do with neurotic self-concern than with others. Thus its purpose is to reduce one's opponent, in an overbearing and systematic manner. In such circumstances, one lashes out with an unrestrained tongue, with total disregard and without mincing words, being of the opinion that one is correct and the person at the other end of one's negative outburst is receiving exactly that which they deserve. Love is, when one can, despite any grounds for arguing, not allow oneself to become provoked (regardless of whether the other person started it or not) and back down from any confrontation. This is without doubt not always easy, but one can practice it! Jesus was truly meek and humble (Matthew 11:29). He invites us to learn from Him. Love does not nurture grudges – it fosters nothing evil. In this way, one never reaches the last straw which breaks the camel's back. There is no measuring of wrongdoings so that one may lash out in accordance with a kept tally. There is no tit for tat – that is love. This is the way God deals with us, our debt and sin is imputed to Jesus Christ as our Sacrifice if we believe in Him. Our bill of debt was torn up (Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”) because God does not hold us accountable for our sin. We should act in like manner.

Love does not rejoice over and in unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 13:6), but rejoices in the truth – thus not living with the motto to take and see what one can get, without any regard to loss. And also not being of the opinion that, whoever comes first is entitled to the best and most – and whoever comes last gets thrown to the dogs or is punished by life. What is just and what is truth? One who loves, concerns himself with that. What love ultimately is, is only known by love itself. We cannot incubate it or frame it and hang it over the bed. When we read that God is love, we understand that we can't really truly define, comprehend, conceive or sense God, nor love. But it exists and is an absolute reality and we are able to deal with it, to immerse ourselves in it and, through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we are able to to get more familiar with it and reciprocate love. Whilst we are still in this indifferent, egotistical world, living in “earthen vessels” and being incomplete, we need such reminders and warnings and well-meaning advice, as Paul gave the Church in Corinth – 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow after love”! It is worthwhile to continue in love! Amen.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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