Text: Romans 12:9-16 June 17, 2012.
1) Love people the right way: Is it possible that we love someone too much or the wrong way? The answer is a resounding YES. When our love actually makes life more difficult for someone, becomes bothering, smothering, manipulative or controlling, then our love it too much or love in the wrong way. If the love we are giving is driven by our own selfish purpose, we may be just trying to love ourselves, not the other person.
2) Love God the right way: Is it possible that we love God too much or the wrong way? The same YES answer is possible. If we love God with our own way, instead of what God wants us to love him, we are not doing good for God. If we love him for our selfish own purpose such as hoping to trade for his blessing or to satisfy our own empty desires or to show off to others, then our love to God is meaningless.
1) We all want to be loved: Compared to love others, we all want others to love lot more than to love them. We all were born to be love by parents and everyone else surrounding us. Although we were taught and learn to love others back, but our nature wants others to love us, care for us, give us and make us important in their lives. So, putting loving others instead of seeking our own needs of love is against our human nature and it is never easy to do. Usually we demand love from others lot more than seeing our need to love others.
2) We love in the wrong way: In the relationship series FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman, we learn that most of us express our love to others in the wrong way that others either do not understand or not benefitted from. To love someone hoping to bring fruits is never an easy task. Many times we love them the wrong way resulted either they don¡¯t understand, don¡¯t like it or even resist our love. So, we need to learn the way they want to be loved and to love them the way they feel comfortable is never an easy job.
3) We love with selfish motive: Agree or not, we all have some degrees of selfish intent to love someone. This is true even in romantic relationships and family: we love and hope or want others to love us back. This is part of being human because only God can love us without any selfish intent. How often can we love someone to the end without their showing intent or action of loving us back?
4) We only love them thus far: Human love is fragile and short- lived and reasons are too many to count. True self giving and lasting love stories are so precious that they become theme of novels, movies and new items. Most of us love on emotional and temporal level. Distance and space create obstacles that dilute the depth and intensity of love. It takes more discipline and commitment to maintain and continue a love relationship when we are separated from our loved ones in extended time.
WHY DO WE WANT TO LOVE ANYWAY?
1) We were created to love: Although we want to be love more than to love, God has created us with the desire to love. This is shown in our everyday life: when we see something beautiful, we love that thing. When we see a cute little baby, we love that baby. When we are in love with someone, we love him/her without the calculation of the price or risk. Since we are created in the image and qualities of God, part of that is we love: people, things, real or imagined. Love is one of the most precious qualities in us. Love makes life beautiful, and love makes us lively and energetic.
2) We love and we are loved: Human love is a two-way street: to love and to be loved back. We may see this as selfish but it is in our nature. Few people if any, can only love and not expect love returned or responded. In most human love relationship, that two-way love is both meaningful and satisfying. Love is the best catalysis to bring people either it is a couple or a group, to bond together. In real life or in stories, we see, heard, read about the power of love in people and things they had achieved.
3) We love because God loves us: When John told us the reason to love in 1 John 4:9, ¡°We love because God first loved us,¡± God wants us to know that we are to love others. Because God first loved us then we have the power from God to love others even to those who are not lovable. We witness many self-giving love stories by God¡¯s people who love others without any desire of return. By loving others, we bear the proof that we belong to God. The more we feel God¡¯s love in us, the more power from God in us to love others.
4) We love because it¡¯s a command: ¡°A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples if you love one another.¡± (John 13:34-35) Most of us memorize these 2 verses in our early Christian life. But it is to practice the command that makes us his real disciples. Too often, we forget this command from the Lord when we do not love others in the circle of people around us, particularly Christians in our church. Jesus told us that it is not how often we go to church, how much we give to church, how well we can memorize the Bible that people in the world recognize us as his disciples. He said the only or best way to tell is we love one another.
HOW TO LOVE THE
1) To love with sincerity: ¡°Let love be without hypocrisy.¡± (12:9a) Paul used agape love to urge the early Christians to love one another the way God loves us, the superior level of love any one may ask. In such high level, self-sacrificial love, there is no room for hypocrisy.
2) To love with preference: ¡°Be devoted in brotherly love, give preference to one another.¡± ()Giving preference, proegeomai in Greek means to let others take the leading role, to walk before you. This is about putting others before you in importance, position or honor. If we really love someone, we want him to have the best honor. When people love one another, there shouldn¡¯t be competition or jealousy but self-giving, relinquishing our own rights and privileges to honor the other person. That is love in the right way.
3) To love is to contribute: ¡°Share with God¡¯s people
who are in need. Practice hospitality.¡± () Koinoneo, to contribute to meet
the needs of others, to share with others what you have. It is from koinonia, usually
means ¡°fellowship¡± or ¡°communion.¡± Here it carries the idea of ¡°commonality¡± as
it was practiced in the early church among the people in
4) To love with humility: ¡°Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people in low position.¡± () Proud or haughty in mind translates hupsela phronountes means self-seeking pride. When we love, we are to be humble, to give up pride, to stay with the lowly.
1) To live is to love: Among all the things we can do in our lifetime, nothing may last longer or mean more than love, both in words and actions. We didn¡¯t bring anything to this world and we can¡¯t take anything with us when we are ready to go, why not do good, show love to people God puts in the path of our life.
2) To love is to give: God loved the world, He gave His Son. When we love people, we are to give. We give time, efforts, we give talents, resources, hearts and sometimes even with life. To love without giving is not true love. Ask God to lead you to someone whom He puts at your doorsteps so you can practice love in real life. ¡°We love because God first loves us.¡±