• By Rev. Joseph A. Bias

Lent – Day 36 – Fervent Love

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:7-9

Fervent – passionate intensity, burning with zeal, wholehearted, eager, enthusiastic

Almost every one of us, I imagine, have had times in our lives when we have been passionately engaged in something we really enjoyed or pursued. It was the first thing on our minds in the morning and what we “lived for” during the day and the last thing we thought about before sleep at night.

We may have been fanatical about it to the extent that it dominated our conversations and our thoughts.

That’s the nature of fervency. Now the Scriptures tell us to have fervent love for one another and it gives examples of those who acted fervently in spirit. What does that mean? The Scriptures are not given to exaggeration as a means of expression as we would express ourselves. Hyperbole is not truth and therefore, would not be consistent with the nature and character of God. So when God says, “…above all have fervent love for one another,” it is not an exaggeration. God really wants us to live and relate to each other that way.

To fervently love is not so much about a feeling of intimate, emotional warmth and a huggy, touchy, feely disposition, though that may in some measure accompany fervent love. It is about being passionately committed to another’s well being and success as a brother or sister in the body of Christ, Seizing every opportunity to show, kindness and genuine affection, encouraging rather than criticizing, building up rather than tearing down, finding the good in one another and magnify it instead of the faults and failures we all bring to the table.

Fervent love blankets a multitude of sins like a cloak and hides them from the condemnation of the enemy. Love intentionally misses every opportunity to expose another’s sins and weakness and seizes every opportunity to cover them in the love of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness, taking no account of them against the sinner. When we love fervently in this way we exemplify God’s love that is the power to transform lives.

This is the love exhibited in the story of Jean Valjean in the novel Les Miserables. When he is caught for stealing and brought before his victim he is amazed to hear that his sin was not only forgiven but with that forgiveness came a new opportunity for transforming his life.

Fervent love is God’s love.

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