John 3:16–17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
I could easily argue that this passage is one of the most known in the Bible, by both believers and those who have yet to meet The Father. Specifically, verse 16. You may have even seen it displayed on poster board at sporting events, held high by a passionate believer wanting to share the love of Jesus and the Goodness of God.
Why? Because it communicates who God is. God is love. See 1 John 4:8.
Let’s talk about having “The Courage to Love Well.” You see, it takes great courage to love well, because to love well is to love like Jesus. I want to encourage you to study the Gospels, watching how Jesus loved.
Love replicates the Father
Ephesians 5:1–2 (The Passion Translation) Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration — a sweet healing fragrance.
Because God is love, and because you are created in His image, you are also, to be love, a heavenly aroma of God’s goodness everywhere you go.
1 John 4:17 (NKJV) Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
Love demonstrates we are his
John 13:35 (NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Love is the greatest demonstration of who we are in Christ. Love is the power plant that illuminates the City on a Hill that can’t be hidden. When you love God and love others with all that you are. The Father will entrust you with wisdom and miraculous power, so to display His Divine nature on the Earth.
Love is relentless
“Love isn’t blind, love sees everything, and loves anyway.”
Romans 8:37–39 (NKJV) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Love does not advertise the sins of others
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Please read Genesis 9:18–28.
Proverbs 3:12 (NKJV) For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
John 2:14–17 (TPT) As he went into the temple courtyard, he noticed it was filled with merchants selling oxen, lambs, and doves for exorbitant prices, while others were overcharging as they exchanged currency behind their counters. So Jesus found some rope and made it into a whip. Then he drove out every one of them and their animals from the courtyard of the temple, and he kicked over their tables filled with money, scattering it everywhere! And he shouted at the merchants, “Get these things out of here! Don’t you dare make my Father’s house into a center for merchandise!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture: “I am consumed with a fiery passion to keep your house pure!”
“Love knows when to turn the other cheek, and when to turn over tables.”
In the American Church today, there is a lack of correction from leadership to the Body of Christ. I believe this is in part, due to fear. The fear of people leaving, going to another church, fear of financial loss to the ministry and fear of the opinions of men.
Correcting in love takes courage and is noble. Correcting in love helps people to become more like Christ. Correcting in love is part of discipleship. Building big people must become more important, then to building big crowds.
Love is quick to reconcile
Matthew 5:23–24 (NKJV) Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV84) In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
In March, my wife Trish and I will be celebrating 32 years of marriage. We credit this success to keeping Jesus as our first love. You see, when you love God the most, you will be empowered to love others the best.
This has also included never going to bed angry. We have made this a core value in our marriage. We make up before falling asleep so not to give the root of bitterness time to grow during the night. This practice has strengthened our love for each other and made our mornings joyful. You see, reconciliation is more important than being right.
So take courage and love well, for the strategy of the Kingdom is love.
Beyond anything else I could ever share with you; I offer you Jesus. Regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done, God is good, and He loves you. He sent His Son who paid the ultimate price for you. He died on a cross for your sins, but death could not hold Him.
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you too can have a new and eternal life. Ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to heal you, to teach you His ways and to use you to help others.
Welcome to the Kingdom, welcome to the Family of God.
Don Sturiano is the Senior Leader of Kingdom Life Christian Church, located at 3700 26th St W. in Bradenton. They meet every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Visit kingdomlifechristianchurch.org to learn more. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Bradenton Herald written by local clergy members.