Based on the Love God Greatly study, Not Made to Be Alone
Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-11 / SOAP 8-10
Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins.9 Show hospitality to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.1 Peter 4:8-10
Today’s SOAP From My Journal
How Deep Is Your Love?
How fervent [intense] is your love for others? Is it like a fountain flowing deep and wide? Is it boundless and free? Is it sincere, selfless, considerate, and forgiving? Does it readily make allowance for other’s faults – covering a multitude of sins? To be clear, as Bibleref.com explains, “This doesn’t mean that our acts of love for each other can earn God’s forgiveness. Nor does Peter mean to imply that we are paying our sins off through good works. – Rather, the idea that our love for each other covers a multitude of sins relates to our imperfection. Christians are not yet sinless. We are not perfect. We have set the course of our lives away from sin, but we still fail to obey sometimes. We make mistakes, even when we mean well. Love for each other includes forgiving each other, overlooking past hurts, and building each other up when we fall. It is difficult for sin and resentment to flourish in a community rich in Christ-like love.
This is the kind of love Peter is talking about here in 1 Peter chapter 4. Actually he isn’t just talking about love, he is commanding them to love one another and to work hard at it. Keep in mind that Peter is writing to believers who have been suffering for Jesus’ sake. They have taken on the attitude of Christ and accepted the hardships as part of their purpose as His people.” (BibleRef.com) Here in the fourth chapter he is offering a more encouraging perspective by telling them their suffering is almost over. Loving like this won’t be easy – it includes being self-controlled and sober-minded. It means showing hospitality even when you’re tired and don’t want to, or using your gifts to serve others. I don’t know about you but this one is stepping all over my toes. But don’t run away yet – because Peter knows it’s going to be hard and he gives them the ‘secret’ weapon. Look at verse 11, after telling them to use their gifts to serve one another, he goes on to tell them to rely on God’s Word and the strength that He supplies. He knows when they do this that God will be glorified. But don’t miss verse 7 – and his encouragement to stay self-controlled and sober-minded because they are going to need to pray. Prayer is a big part of the church community.
So, how deep is your love? Is it a love that honors God? Is it selfless or self-focused? Is it unshakable even in times of suffering? Peter knew the believers would need God and each other in order to stand strong and not fall. His words are still true for us today because, like them, we are made for community and we are meant to love one another fervently. Because, as the earlier quote said, “Love for each other includes forgiving each other, overlooking past hurts, and building each other up when we fall.” In other words, our love for one another, is meant to cover a multitude of sins.
Don’t forget to visit lovegodgreatly.com today for the Wednesday blog post.