And To Brotherly Kindness Love
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
You and I, as those created in the image and after the likeness of God, have a unique capacity that no other created being possesses. We are capable of loving as God loves, thoughtfully, deliberately and when necessary in opposition to our feelings, even our own self-preservation.
Though arguably, anyone who has ever loved a pet particularly a dog who is loyal and by all indications committed to a family’s protection, or those who have been trained to sense when their masters are in trouble such as Therapy Dogs, might say that they love their keepers. And in the broadest sense of it’s meaning they do.
Yet, to whatever extent an animal can be trained to be obedient and responsive to human interaction at an amazing degree they cannot reason as those created in the image of God. They were not created for that purpose.
Our unique ability to express love is given to us so that we can internally know God’s love given to us. Of all the greatness of the gifts given to men from God for their development and maturity in the body of Christ the greatest gift is love.
Why? Because it most directly connects us with the Spirit and Nature of God and His transforming power. When we love, fervently, freely, intentionally by our own volitional choice, we are imitating our Father, God in ways that change us and changes those we love.
Now think of it. We, the just, are called to live by faith, but faith works by love. We are commanded not to fear. The only antidote to fear is love, because perfect love casts out all fear.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
When we dwell in love we dwell in God. [1 John 4:16]
Now the love that we are called to live does not just come in a quick moment, nor is it a commodity that we can purchase spiritually and once possessing it we’re set for life. No. Love is developed, nurtured and overtime increases to abounding in us as we become more and more yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit who is working in us.
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you…” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5
“…For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
Love, God’s love, unselfish, unconditional love is an undefeatable love that never fails.
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” 1 Corinthians 13:8
What hinders the work of love in us? Pride, fear, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, judgmentalism, self-centeredness, indifference to the needs of the poor and weak, arrogance, hate, malice, divisions, pettiness, bickering, gossip, slander, false witness, lying, deceit, filthy speech, faithlessness, doubt, unbelief, lusts and all evil seeking. These must be avoided and resisted at all costs, because they, not only hinder love, but the wages of their work is death.
God’s love brings life and that more abundantly. All the works of man will fail (come to an end) but one. Love will never fail. When it is linked together in our hearts and minds in a bond with faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, Godliness and brotherly kindness we, like love, will never stumble, fall or fail.
Impossible? With men alone it is. With God all things are possible. We can do this. The Holy Spirit working in us will make it so, to the glory of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.