Love and Charity are interchangeable words. Many people say the King James Bible should have used the word love for charity in 1Corinthians, but I believe charity is exactly what the Lord wanted. While the two words are interchangeable, it seems that when you say love, you think of receiving, and when you say charity, you think of giving. Both the giving and receiving of love is very important to our lives.
Everyone of us hungers for love. Hopefully, we have parents that not only birthed us, but will tenderly love us. Hopefully, we will find a mate someday that will commit their love to our lives. Later, hopefully, our children will love us in return for the love we serve their lives with. It is our hope that the people God brings into our lives will love us. But it does not always happen that way. Loving is an option, it’s part of our free will.
Some people have no idea how to give love and many people do not know how to receive love. A greater number of people do not even know what love is. A few years ago someone asked me, “What is love? I would give all I have if someone could just tell me what love is.” This person was in their 40’s and had felt that they had never known love. I told them, “I can tell you what love is with just three words. God is love!”
That sounds simple, but who is God? To know love, you must know God.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love .
1 John 4:7-8
Love is the very character of God. When love is present, God is present. There is no greater way to be close to God than to exercise love. But in order to exercise love, you must possess love, which comes from receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, at which time, God sends the Holy Spirit (which is the Spirit of God) into our hearts. This Spirit is the Spirit of love! When we walk in this Spirit, we walk in love. The Spirit can be present and yet we may not do our works through that Spirit. We are only successful when we work through the Holy Spirit that God has so graciously given to us at the time of our salvation. Those who are born again believers and still walk in the flesh, rob themselves of victory in their daily actions.
Love is our greatest and most valuable possession. There is no greater wealth than love. Love never fails! Money fails. Honor fails. Relationships fail. Love is the only thing we possess that does not fail and yet we do not exercise love as a standard of living. Oh, we will use love when it is convenient for us. Why wouldn’t we always use love, if it truly never fails?
Many Christian people are waiting for love to serve them before they are willing to serve others with love. How sad; What a waste of time! Fulfillment does not come from receiving love from others. Fulfillment comes from giving love to others. We do not need another person’s love in order to be satisfied. When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we received all we need to be satisfied and content. Christ is all we need! If we never had another close relationship outside of our relationship with Christ, we would have all we need to be happy and fulfilled in this life. We are not to wait for others to love us. The minute we get saved, we should begin serving others with the love (Spirit) God has shared with us.
We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Yes, we do have to be loved first, but God is that first love, not man (We are to be first at loving man). You cannot live a self-centered life and live in love at the same time. Love is putting others in front of yourself. You don’t forget about yourself, but you put others first and then yourself. You don’t give out love according to how man loves you. You give out love according to how God loves you. The Bible says He loved us when we were yet sinners!!! Ouch! That’s hard to do, is it not? The way I love and the reason I love should depend on what God has commanded me and my relationship to Him, not according to the character of the one I serve.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Mal 3:6
David said in the Psalms, “My heart is fixed oh Lord.” What about us? Do we have a fixed heart, or do we let everyone else’s actions determined the way we are going to respond. Many times we grieve the Lord and we anger the Lord with our actions, but it does not change His character! He does not allow us to determine His response to us and we should not allow others to determine our response to them. We should have our hearts FIXED upon obeying God at any cost. Remember, Jesus knew who Judas was, but it did not change who Jesus was!
Now the question is, “Who do we have to love with the love of Christ?” Our parents? Oh yes, we understand that. Our mates? Oh yes, we understand that. But do we understand that this love is to be given to all?
First, we are to love the Lord God with all our heart and all that we are. Now unless we are practicing the second commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, we are not practicing the first commandment.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20
Wow! If we hate another person, we do not love God! The Bible says if we say we love God and hate our brother, we are a liar! That’s pretty strong. It is impossible to live in love and hate someone. We must forgive. We must not forsake mercy. The first person that is affected by hatred is the one doing the hating. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we hate another person. You might say, “But you don’t know what they did.” Whatever they did to you is not nearly as bad as what your anger and unforgiveness is doing to you. Don’t allow anyone to be used of Satan to destroy your life. They can’t touch your soul, but you can sure destroy yourself by the way you respond to their actions. If you love yourself, you will forgive and love others, as Christ commanded us to do.
What does it mean, “Love never faileth?” The love you give others may be rejected and cast off. It may not bring the results you expected from the one you served, but it will be successful to your life. You will never fail when you exercise true love. You are the one to benefit the most by giving love. Others will benefit when they receive your love. Some will and some will not, but you will always benefit from loving.
How far are you willing to go in loving others? When that person at the checkout line makes you angry, do you respond in love? When that car pulls out in front of you and causes you to throw on your brakes, do you respond with love? When you hear that your friend talked about you behind your back, do you respond with love? When someone falsely accuses you, do you respond in love?
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom 13:10
You will never break the law of God as long as you are acting out of true love. Love fulfills God’s law. You don’t have to know all of God’s laws as long as you know how to love, because you will keep His laws as you walk
in His love.
There is much talk about God in this day and time, but not much seen of His love in those who call themselves by His name. Why?
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matt 24:12
Iniquity is the work of the flesh. Do you want a warm love? Forsake the flesh and let the Spirit of Christ rule in your heart. Those you love may not return your love, but God is faithful and will not forget your work of love. It will come back at the moment you need it the most.