“If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down,
for that is his only covering, it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep?
And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’
and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Reading through some of the Old Testament Law today, my mind was drawn to these verses in Romans.
Because at the heart of the various laws given, God’s care for each of His people can be seen. Love is what underscores His law.
That’s what it all comes down to.
That’s why Jesus was able to determine the greatest commandment when asked: to love God with all that you are and to love others as you love yourself. This is the foundation of everything.
Because our God is love. Love is what Jesus displayed throughout His time on earth. Love is what drove Him to the cross. So love is what should define how we go throughout our lives. Because we reflect the One who is love and show who He is to the world.
1 Corinthians 13 is a pretty well-known passage describing what love looks like. And if love is the fulfilling of the law, if love reflects who God is, and if, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, anything done without love is worth nothing, perhaps this is where we should plant our focus each day.
Dwelling on what God has shown us love is.
Realizing that all He calls us to, including those commands that we may struggle to understand or agree with, all of it is rooted in love: His love for us and His love for those around us.
So in love, and in faith, we follow His example. The example of the God who declares: “if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”
Trusting that as we choose to pour out love for family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers, He will not neglect to continue pouring into us. Watching over us to give us the strength and wisdom we need and to remind us that we love because He loved us first.
Lord, teach us what love is meant to be. Because the concept gets so twisted in our broken world. Give us wisdom, understanding, and compassion. Unite us in love under Your banner. May we treasure up passages like 1 Corinthians 13, that Your characteristics of love will pervade our hearts and overflow into our every interaction. Stir our heart to seek out what love looks like in Your eyes, captured in Your law, Your Life, and Your instructions for the early Christian church. It all comes back to love. So may the love You have poured into our hearts through Your Holy Spirit teach us to walk in a manner worthy of our God, who manifested His love by sending His Son to die for us on a cross, so that we might live through Him.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,
so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have,
and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes,
the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13