Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Love for Others

King David is described as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). While there are many qualities of David we should emulate, I want us to consider just one in this article -- his love for others.

David showed love for a broad range of people. We can see the love and kindness he shared with his friends, namely Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1; 2 Samuel 1:26). He loved his enemies, sparing Saul's life twice when he had opportunity to kill him (1 Samuel 24:1-4; 26:2-11). Both instances came when Saul was pursuing David in order to kill him. We also see David's love given to those in need with the example of him caring for Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9).

We must demonstrate love for our friends and brethren (1 John 4:11). But like David, we must do more than this (cf. Matthew 5:46). We are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We must show love and kindness to those who are in need (Ephesians 4:28; Romans 12:20). David shows us an example of love. Christians are to be recognized as such by their love (John 13:35).

David was a man after God's own heart. So while we can learn from his example of loving others, we should remember that God is our perfect example. "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He demonstrates His love for His friends, which Jesus said are the ones who follow His commands (John 15:14), by saving them. Jesus is "to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9).

God loves His enemies. Paul said that it was "while we were enemies [that] we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son" (Romans 5:11). "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16), and this came when the world was not on friendly terms with Him.

God also loves the needy -- not just those who are monetarily poor (James 2:5; Matthew 11:5), but those who are "helpless" in their sins (Romans 5:6). God offers salvation to all those who need it, before we are worthy to receive it. Because in reality, we will never be worthy of God's grace. He offers to save us because He loves us. Let us respond to His love appropriately, by submitting to His will in humble obedience (John 14:15), and "be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:1-2).

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