Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Devotional #9(part 5 of 1 Timothy 4:12 study)
Hello once again! :) I pray that this devotional study on 1 Timothy 4:12 has been an encouragement to you! If you have not had the opportunity to read the first 4 devotionals in this series, please click here, so that you will be able to read them in order. Then return to this one to continue your reading.
When I was forced to break off the devotional on Monday, we had been reading through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, in order to better understand what love is, so that we can learn to practice true, Biblical love with our familes and others(1 Timothy 4:12-"Let no one despise your youth but be an example to the believers in love"). We had just ended with 1 Corinthians 13:5a, which says, "[love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked". So, now I will be moving on to 1 Corinthians 13:5b, which says, "[love] thinks no evil." This means that we are not thinking evil thoughts about those around us, but are rather loving, gentle, kind and sweet in our thoughts towards others. In the Bible, we find that we are to honor our parents, and so if we are thinking unkind and unloving thoughts towards them, then we are disobeying this command, and we are in sin. We must think loving and kind thoughts towards those in our families daily! This will be wonderful and much needed practice for when we have our own families one day. 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NKJV) says, "[love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth". Love does not rejoice when there is any form of injustice performed to someone. But rather, true love rejoices and sings out when truth prevails. In your families, practice this! Do not allow your sibling(s) to take the blame and receive the punishment for something that you did. Not only is this sort of behavior showing that you have no true, Biblical love for your sibling(s), but it is also very immature and sinful! So, if you are in the habit of doing such things, stop immediately, ask your sibling(s) for forgiveness, and ask the same of your Lord as well. Also, we see in 1 Corinthians 13 that love "bears all things". Wow! This is something that very few people actually put into practice. So often, we are infuriated when the smallest things happen to us. We allow our tempers to get the best of us, and we blow up at those around us. This should not be the case!! Not only is that unfeminine and unladylike (becuase this is definitely not a meek and quiet spirit!), but it's also unBiblical, hurtful, and very sinful. Patiently endure unkind words, injustice, rude behavior, etc. that you receive, and take these things and use them as an opportunity in order to show a Christ-like, loving, longsuffering spirit! This as well, is great practice for when you have a husband and children. And by practicing to have a loving, Christ-like demeanor, you are developing in yourself beautiful character! Love also "believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things." Enduring all things goes right along with bearing all things. Christ, when He died for us patienly endured the most agonizing treatment and ridicule-worse than we could even begin to comprehend or imagine! Yet, He not once let out a yell, scream, or cry, but rather endured it patiently and lovingly. As Christians, Christ is to be our example in all things, and so it is our duty and responsibility to practice Christ-like love with our familes and others around us, by giving love which endures and bears all things. The rest of the above mentioned verse says that love "believes all things, hopes all things,". True love is trusting in those whom we love and is hopeful-like the Proverbs 31 woman, it "rejoices at the time to come. ", because our hope is in Christ. This passage that we are going through ends with the words, "Love never fails." This one speaks for itself. :) All things in this life come to an end-earthly possessions, wealth, etc., but love never does! And it is through Christ's perfect, sacrificial love that we have the blessing of knowing that we, as Christians, will spend eternity with Christ one day! So, truly, love never fails!
In the above paragraph and in the previous devotional on being an example to the believers in love, I had been focusing mainly on the way we love and treat our families. But it is very important to remember that everything that I've talked about, and everything we need to put into practice with our families, needs to be put into practice with our friends, enemies, aquaintances, and people we come into contact from day to day,as well. We have got to treat all whom we meet on a day to day basis with love! Christ said that the world will know we are His disciples by the way we love one another! Wow! We are to be salt and light in this pagan world, but how can we expect to fulfill that commandment if we do not practice love? In Matthew 5:44, Christ orders us to love and bless our enemies. I know from experience that this is SO hard to do! It takes work, and practice, and perseverance, but the Lord will give us the strength needed to obey His commands! Just ask Him for the ability to treat your enemies as you would wish to be treated, and He will help you with this hard and trying task.
Daily, whether it is with your family, enemies, friends, aquaintances, or just people you meet at the grocery store, put into practice Biblical, selfless, patient, long-suffering love! When we do this, then we can truly be an example to the believers in love, as 1 Timothy 4:12 commands us! Also, treat all others with kindness, respect, gentleness, and meekness, and remember to always treat them as you would desire to be treated. That is a command which is found in the Bible, and if we do not obey it, we are in sin! So go to the Lord daily and ask Him for the strength and ability to truly love those whom you come into contact with throughout each day. When you find that you have wronged someone, practice humility, and go to that person and earnestly seek out their forgiveness! This is a must! It is so important that you do this! Afterwards, go to the Lord, diligently seek Him with your whole heart, and ask for His needed forgiveness as well. I know it's hard at times, but be loving and patient to all whom you meet, and be salt and light in our pagan culture. For you never know how the Lord will bring someone to repentance-it may be your loving example that brings someone to salvation!
Please return on Friday for the next devotional in our 1 Timothy 4:12 study! This devotional will be on us being an example in spirit! I pray that it will be encouraging to you!