We were made for love - to receive it and to release it.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
To love and be loved is a basic human need. God wired us to instinctively search for love. To discover true love is to discover God himself. 1 John 4:12 explains, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” There is no greater love story than the one woven throughout the pages of the Bible. John 3:16 says God loved us so much that He gave His only son to be the propitiation for our sins and accomplish eternal relationship between Creator and His creation. Love compelled Father God to send His son Jesus as a way-maker for all of us who believe.
The moment we accept Jesus as our Savior, “God’s love is poured into our hearts through His Spirit” and we are designed to release this love - His life-transforming love - to those around us (Romans 5:5). There is a cycle to love. As we receive more of the Father’s love, we release more love to those around us. It’s an ever growing, ever deepening dynamic between us, our King, and others.
As people come together and love one another, the Body of Christ comes alive. Love finds its greatest expression in community. The Apostle Peter tells us, “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:8-10). When we act like a body, caring for one another, bringing our gifts and strengths to the benefit of one another, we are all strengthened. We were not meant to do life alone; we were made to need one another. For example, take the human body and how each part is vital for proper function. What value does a lung have outside the context of a body? But inside a body, it’s absolutely crucial! We cannot compare gifts or talents, but we must earnestly share with one another what God has given us, using our gifts to love and bless others.
I have been on the receiving end of love like this on countless occasions. I have so many friends who have loved me well with their gifts of hospitality and service. From gatorade and saltines dropped on my doorstep when the stomach bug was ravaging our home to friends folding my laundry and cooking gourmet dinners when I was on bedrest during my last pregnancy. Then there’s my girlfriend who loves me well with her gift of listening. We meet at the gym and she listens to me ramble with genuine care and interest. I have another friend who is a well of wisdom. Calling and listening to her inspires and challenges me to trust God more and dream bigger. You see, whatever gift God has given you, when it is shared in the context of community, it acts like fuel on a fire empowering others to push through difficult times or inspiring them to believe more in the promises of God.
As love increases in community, we experience a dramatic reduction in common issues like comparison, negativity, judgment and gossip. Strong, healthy community thrives when built on a foundation of love. So this week, let’s remember we are part of something bigger, part of the body of Christ. Bring your gifts unashamedly to bless the body! Your unique expression of God’s love through hospitality, service, prophecy, encouragement, creative expression, or any other spiritual gift is the very nature of God flowing through you to release life, courage and joy to others.
Lord, thank you for the love you have poured into my life. Teach me, God, how to release your life-transforming love to the community around me. Would you reveal what gifts you have given me to uniquely bless others this week?