Monday, September 12, 2011

Unexplained love

Colossians 1:1-6
     This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. It is written to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.
     We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard that you trust in Christ Jesus and that you love all of God’s people. You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven – as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners.

     As we start this new study in the book of Colossians, we need to understand who wrote this letter and why, which is why we are starting with the first few verses. Paul, once again, is the author of this book, and he is writing this around 60 AD., from his prison cell in Rome. The Colossian people and Christians everywhere are the recipients of this book/letter. Paul never visited Colosse, but Epaphras, one of Paul’s converts, founded this particular church, so Paul felt a connection to these believers, even though he never physically met them.
     Paul begins by bringing greetings and encouragement to his fellow Christ followers, thanking them for exhibiting true characteristics of Christ by loving all of God’s people. He goes on to explain that the same Good News that they received and accepted about Jesus Christ, was continuing to be spread out all over the world, changing lives as it had changed theirs.

     As today’s Christians, do we love ALL of God’s people, or just the ones we feel comfortable around? I agree that there will always be people that we will have personality clashes with but God commands us to love everyone regardless of whether we click with them or not. We can’t gain this love on our own; it only comes through the Holy Spirit. So the next time you find it difficult to accept someone or tolerate them and their behavior, begin to pray that the Lord would give you a new measure of love for that person and you will be amazed at the results.

     Where there was once aggravation and intolerance, God will begin to replace those feelings with acceptance, understanding and empathy. It has happened more than once in my own life, so I know that it can also happen in yours. It can only begin when we realize the fact that we are no better than anyone else, and understanding that people behave in certain ways due to past experiences in their lives. When we begin to take an interest in the other person and dig deeper into their past, we gain a new insight into who they are as a person, which in turn, causes us to react differently and more compassionately towards them. Taking the focus off of ourselves and placing it on other people is one of the greatest lessons we can learn, as we walk through this life.

     Think of someone today that you have a difficult time accepting and loving. Spend some quiet moments in prayer, asking God to give you a new measure of love and acceptance for this person. Step out in faith and do something extra special for this person, whether it’s a note of encouragement, an uplifting text or phone call, or a small gift. Watch what the Lord will do in your life when you step out of your comfort zone, and self-centered focus and bless someone else.

Have a great day!

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