Reflecting God’s Love :: By Nathele Graham

Jesus loves me and you. How do I know that? The Bible tells me so. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Sin and death had entered the world through Adam’s sin. Because of his sin we were separated from God and condemned. God still loved us and, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, that condemnation is lifted and the separation is healed.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

There is no greater love than this. Now, what do we do with that love? How do we show our love for God? We allow His love to guide our life.

Adam and Eve were the first humans, and the first example of marriage. One man and one woman for life. Marriage is important to mankind because it’s the Biblical foundation of family, and God likens His relationship with us to marriage. Jesus is likened to the Bridegroom, and Christians are likened to the Bride. This is a special relationship of love. A husband is admonished to love his wife as Christ loves the ekklēsia.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

Husbands are the leaders of their family, and God expects them to reflect His love. The way a man treats his wife shows his heart. Christ sacrificed everything for His ekklēsia (the whole Body of Christ throughout the world).

How exactly did Christ love us? He set aside His deity and entered His creation. He humbled Himself and was obedient. He showed kindness and forgiveness towards sinners, but didn’t compromise. When a prostitute was brought before Him for condemnation, He forgave her sin but told her to change her ways and stop that sin. He showed compassion towards those who suffered illness by healing the deaf, the blind, and the leprous. Christ never accepted the religious acts of the Pharisees, but encouraged faith. When the time was right, He laid down His life for His Bride.

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

That’s Christ’s example of love for His Bride. Men, how do you show love to your wife? Do you provide for her and protect her? Do you forgive her when you think she’s not as perfect as you would like? You have a responsibility to her, and the love you show to her reflects your love for Jesus.

Wives also are examples of how we show our love. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

That isn’t very politically correct, but it is Biblically correct. God created Adam first and gave him responsibilities. Eve was taken out of Adam to help him, not rule over him.

In this day and age, things have gotten mixed up. Women seem to be trying to take the place of men. Instead of submitting to their husbands, they “rule the roost.” Marriage isn’t seen as necessary, so many families have no husband present and children are not given the example of a Christian marriage. A woman cannot submit to a husband if she doesn’t have one, or if she is trying to be the man of the house.

Jesus knows all about the attitudes we have. He met a Sumerian woman at a well and was aware that she had been married seven times and was now just living with a man. He didn’t condemn her, but her sinful lifestyle was brought to her attention. Ladies, allow God’s love to shine in your marriage. A Christian woman should be married to a Christian man. When God is first in a marriage, then the man and the woman will both reflect God’s love.

What about our actions outside of the home? Everything we do should reflect our love of Christ. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

The word “charity” is translated from the Greek word “agape,” and only the King James version of the Bible translates it “charity.” All other translations say “love.” The “Outline of Biblical Usage” defines it as affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. It’s a word that is used many times to talk of showing God’s love to fellow Christians. Before He was arrested, Jesus told His disciples to love (agape) one another.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

We are to show kindness to the lost, but the love we show to fellow Christians shows the world our love for Christ. We can do many good works; but if we don’t have agape love, then it means nothing.

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians13:3).

Do you ever do a very nice thing for someone, but resent doing it? I’m not pointing fingers because I have done just that. If an act of kindness doesn’t show God’s love, then He isn’t glorified. It is a cacophony of “… sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” with no beauty of love.

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

Our love for Christ is only evident in what we do for Him and in His name.

When we first accept Christ for salvation, we carry a lot of luggage with us. Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be born again. Instead of being bogged down and condemned by our sin nature, we have a new chance to live. Instead of being a slave to sin, we need to become a slave to Christ. Our lives should reflect the choice we made. Instead of reacting as a lost sinner, Christ’s love should be our guide. Instead of impatience and anger, we show Christ’s love by using His example of kindness and love.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Once again, the word translated “charity” is the Greek word “agape” and is better translated “love.” Our love for Christ should be reflected through our daily living. We were justified the moment we accepted His death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation. Then the process of sanctification begins.

Looking back at the example of a marriage, we can see examples of the changes a man and woman make after the vows are taken. Patience is a virtue, and so agape love also is patient and kind. Bragging and boasting have no place in a Christian’s life, unless it’s about what Christ has done for you. Read through that list of what agape love looks like and substitute your name for “charity.” Are you longsuffering and kind? Do you envy?

As I read that list, I see that I have a lot of changes I need to make. My life doesn’t give a perfect reflection of God’s love. What about you? Do you reflect God’s agape love? Paul wrote this list to the congregation in Corinth. They were a congregation with many problems, and Paul wanted them to know how to interact with fellow Christians.

It’s been said that charity begins at home. It first begins when you recognize Christ’s love for you. It’s reflected in the love of a man and women in a Godly marriage and is passed on to the children. Christ’s love for His ekklēsia is reflected in our love for our fellow Christians. That love will be evident to the lost sinners in the world; and as we share the Gospel with them, we are sharing God’s love.

Is your life reflecting God’s love? Let’s all work on that.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

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