I’ve decided to combine the last step in our spiritual growth with its ultimate destination. Brotherly kindness is heavenly linked to love, which agape love is our ultimate destination in our spiritual growth. When we learn to love like Jesus loves, then we have arrived as a Christian. Loving like Jesus does is humanly impossible. It takes amazing grace to have this type of love. It is not human love; it is spiritual love.
The Greek word we get brotherly love from is philadelphia, yes the word from where we get our Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love as it is known. This word literally means “love for the brethren.” The brethren are fellow believers; members of the Body of Christ. If we are going to grow into Christlikeness, we must love our brothers and sisters in Christ. it is not optional:
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:9-11)
The quickest way to destroy a local church is for it to be devoid of brotherly love. Quarreling, bickering, backbiting, slandering, and rumor-mongering are just some of the symptoms of a church without brotherly love. This is why Paul cautioned his protégé the young pastor Timothy:
“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
Those who are quarrelsome and in opposition are caught in the devil’s snare. Did you know that? Be set free from it!
So how do I have this spiritual love for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? You must first have it for the Lord:
“Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
For me to ever love imperfect people here on earth, I must first love the Perfect God who is in Heaven and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ who was God with Us, Immanuel. He lived among us without sin, died a substitutionary death for us, and was raised from the dead so that we may have everlasting life. That must be the foundation of your love. Without it your love here on earth is a mutation of what God has in mind. It is malformed and incomplete. Loving someone within your own abilities always ends in dissatisfaction. You wonder is there more to love because there is so much more.
For some it is hard if not impossible to trust someone else, much less a God unseen and for too many unknown. But Jesus Christ is so trustworthy that I can place all my confidence in Him. And if I know you have placed your trust in Christ, then I can have confidence in you and brotherly love will abound!
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5)
If I will love Jesus and God the Father the way the Bible commands me to, then I will love my brothers and sisters in Christ as I love myself. I will be concerned for their spiritual, emotional, and physical welfare. And it will be more than just phileo love, brotherly love, it will be agape love, unconditional love.
It is the kind of love that Christ has for each one of us. If we will come to Him in repentance, turn from our sinful life and seek His forgiveness, asking Him to be our Lord and Savior, surrendering to His Lordship, then I will not only be saved from an eternity in hell, I can learn to live a heavenly life while living in this earthly body.
Who in this world could rightly refuse that? I pray if that is you then you stop running from true love. Give your life to Jesus today and experience both brotherly and unconditional love.
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers
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