Put on Love
For quite some time now, Western culture has been enamored with the idea that love will solve all our problems. “All you need is love,” we sing. “Love conquers all,” we say. Now, there is some truth to that. God’s love could indeed fix quite literally everything if we all submitted ourselves to Him on His terms. But the problem is that by nature we do not submit to Him in this way; and, moreover, society at large tends to have a notion of what love is that bears little resemblance to real love as seen in and defined by its source—God Himself.
Often, what binds people together in “love” is shared interests or natural instincts. People who are like us or to whom we are attracted are those we instinctively are drawn toward and care for. In the church, however, our mutual love and affection is anchored in something outside of ourselves—namely, Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we are not bound together by some inherent characteristic or shared interest or even mutual attraction but by God, who has acted through Jesus Christ to tear down “the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14)—any barrier between people, such as race, class, gender, language, or nationality.
Despite what our culture desires, so long as we base our idea of love subjectively on whatever we choose and however we feel, a society defined by true love will remain an impossibility. Only an objective, unchanging love—the love of God for us in Christ—can bind “everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14). Only the steadfast love of God for us, through His Son and by His Spirit, can fill us enough so that we actually love one another in the way He has intended us to from the beginning.
Without God’s love as their soil, the seeds of love we plant in this life can never grow and flourish to their fullest eternal potential. So, as you seek God and His truth today, ask Him to fill you with mercy, kindness, compassion, grace—and, yes, love! And make sure that what matters most to your heart is not how others feel about you, or how you feel about others, but how your Father feels about you because, by faith, you are united with His Son, the Lord Jesus. Knowing that “this is love … that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10, emphasis added)—knowing that you could not be more loved by God than you already are—is what both shows you how to love others and frees you from needing anything from them so that you are able simply to give to them. So, “put on love”; for your loving Father in heaven will be more than pleased to sustain you as you seek to love Him and others more and more.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:2 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming.3 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self4 with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
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