“Just as you feed and care for your body, so you nourish your emotions with the goal to grow healthy relationships over time.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 15, 2021
‘Love your neighbor as yourself” [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others]. Matthew 19:19, AMP
I am learning that intentional love requires prayerful awareness of those around me. I need a generous disposition that disdains looking down on others, but looks up to the Lord for wisdom in how to love well. I want my love to be a healthy love that first looks at how I am loved by my heavenly Father, so in turn I can love myself well, with a heart to love others in the same manner. Gratefully, I ponder my Savior’s love for me. He loves me with His generous forgiveness. He loves me with His tender kindness. He loves me with His nourishing care. Because my heart is empowered with Holy Spirit energy and motivation, I can love in ways that others may take notice of God’s love. Let’s look at three ways we can generously love family, friends, acquaintances and strangers:
Generous Love Forgives “Bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive” (Colossians 3:13, AMP).
Sometimes, we forget the vastness of God’s generous forgiveness. When we bowed in humility at the cross of Christ, repented and received His forgiveness, we became children of love. By His generous grace we are forgiven: past, present and future. We must remind ourselves to not lock ourselves in a mental and emotional torture chamber, but to forgive ourselves and others as the Lord has forgiven us. We keep no record of wrongs on earth, because heaven keeps no record of our wrongs. Halleluiah! We release resentment and replace it with empathic understanding. We see a hurting person, who hurt us—but who needs the healing hand of love applied to his heart. Generous love forgives others made in the image of God, by forgiving them with liberating love!
Generous Love is Kind “A person’s friends should be kind to him when he is in trouble, even if he stops fearing the Almighty” (Job 6:14, NCV).
Even at our worse, the Lord has given us His best. So, we start by being kind to ourselves. Our capacity to love is only limited by our kindness to ourselves. Then we can take the opportunity to be kind to those who are in trouble. We don’t give up on those who despair, because God in His loving kindness has not given up on them. Similar to when we experience a spiritually dry season, we thirst for a cup of refreshing kindness—not dehydrating condemnation. Insults do not influence, only alienate. A soul distant from Jesus does not need a lecture on how far away he is from God, rather he needs to be reminded how close he is to kindness that leads to repentance and restoration. A dilapidated life can be rebuilt with one nail of kindness at a time: a kind smile, a kind word, a kind invitation for fun or a kind gift. Love moves toward those tangled in trouble—not to fix their flaws, but in kindness to show them they are loved and not alone.
Generous Love Nourishes “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29, NCV).
Just as you feed and care for your body, so you nourish your emotions with the goal to grow healthy relationships over time. To invest the time and training into emotional fitness is an expression of generous love. You nourish emotional health to better understand how to love those you value the most, who are precious to Jesus. Emotional neglect evidenced by surface conversations, only ignores the realities of how the Lord has made us to feel loved in our heart. Similar to a body that is more susceptible to disease without proper care and feeding, so relational health deteriorates without the nourishment of generous love. Take the time to be with those who need you the most—make them feel known. The Holy Spirit bears beautiful fruit, when daily deposits of love are invested relationally. Generous love nourishes relationships.
“I’m not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians’ enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich” (2 Corinthians 8:8-9, MSG).
Heavenly Father, may my generous love be intentional, so relationships in my life flourish for you, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who needs me in this season of life to daily invest my love in her life?
Vintage Worship: Generous Giver
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