Monday, October 1, 2007
Devotional #8 (part 4 of 1 Timothy 4:12 study)
Good morning, ladies! I hope you all have had a blessed weekend and Lord's Day! As most of you know, I have embarked on a 7 part devotional study of 1 Timothy 4:12, which says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." We've already covered us being examples in word and conduct. If you have not read those 3 devotionals yet, then please click here and you will be able to read them in order. Once you've finished, then please come back to continue on with this one. I hope this devotional series is used by the Lord in a mighty way, so that it might be a blessing to you!
We have now come to the part of the verse which says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in love", so this is what we will be focusing on today. In the sin-saturated culture of today, we have a horribly wrong notion of love and what love truly is. We are confronted daily by a culture drenched in impurity and pre-marital sexual relationships, all done in the name of "love"(more on this, when we cover the purity aspect of 1 Timothy 4:12). And so, knowing that these unlawful practices have absolutely nothing to do with true love, we are bombarded with the questions, "So, what is love? What does love mean? What does it look like and entail?" Sadly, everywhere today, you meet people with an untrue notion of what love truly is-they have no idea what the word "love" Biblically and truly means. If we hope to answer this questions, which so many people are asking these days, then what other passage ought we go to than 1 Corinthians 13, which is so often referred to as the Love Chapter? I highly encourage you to read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, but for sake of time, I will just be focusing today on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, which says(NKJV), "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
We must practice Biblical love with our familes, first and foremost. As I touched on briefly in my last devotional, so often, it is the ones that we love the most and who are closest to us, that we hurt the most. This should not be, dear sisters!! The home ought to be a place where servanthood, hospitality and love shine forth so much, that those visitors who enter the house can't help but notice these things permeating the entire home! But today, that is not the case in most homes! In most of the homes in America today, we see houses that are filled with bickering, rudeness, hatred in speech and conduct, and nothing even closely resembling service or hospitality. This should not be!! We should be practicing love daily with our family. Not only because they are our dear loved ones and so deserve to be treated with love, but also because if we practice this now, it will prepare us ladies to be able to fulfull the command given in Titus 2:4, "that they[the older women] admonish [teach] the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children,". What better practice for this all-important future time in our lives, than to show love, gentleness, servanthood and hospitality to our dear family and loved ones now? So, dear sisters, practice now (for there is no time like the present) for your future home and family, by treating your parents and siblings (and most definitely, extended family as well) with Christ-like love. Put to practice love that "suffers long and is kind". In other words, be patient with your family! Don't let your temper get the best of you, but rather practice gentle, quiet and loving answers. Biblical love also does not envy. If one of your siblings, for instance, receives a gift that you would have loved to have gotten, don't envy them! But rather put into practice being genuinely happy for them! Don't seek anything for yourself("love does not seek its own"-verse 5), but rather remember that "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Something else that we read in 1 Corinthians 13, is that love "does not parade itself, is not puffed up;" True Biblical love is not boastful, selfish, or self-seeking!! True love cares about others, and desires to ensure that their needs are taken of, above our own. True love does not, as the Pharisees and hypocrites did, desire praise, honor and glory for good deeds they may have done. But they rather desire to do the good deeds so that they may be of service to someone else. We also see in this chapter that love "does not behave rudely, is not provoked." This is something that all of us, especially myself, need to really put into practice! Don't let your temper be easily aroused by things your family members may do, or things they may say. Practice having a gentle and quiet spirit, and as I touched on above, practice gentle answers! Be kind, loving, sweet and gentle. And, most importantly, be forgiving!! God takes this so seriously, as well. He over and over in His Word charges us to be forgiving. For, "if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." We must practice for our future homes, by forgiving our parents and siblings any time they may hurt us with a tone of voice they may use, something they may say, or something they may do. Definintely ensure that you do not harbor anger in your hearts! Not only is that very unloving, but God commands against doing so, and it is very unhealthy, as well. So, practice kindness and forgiveness with your family!
Dear sisters, I deeply apologize for having to do this to you once again, but I must break this off where I am, and continue this on Wednesday. So, it looks like our devotional study has turned into an 8 part study! :) Please come back on Wednesday, for a continuation on being an example in love. I'm sorry for this inconvenience! :)