In these verses, we are reminded of how limited the English language is in words to express love. We have one word, the Greeks had at least six words expressing different levels and types of love. Philia which means friendly and/or brotherly affection and is the word used here for the “love for each other”. The second word used here for love is agape which is the word that comes closest to expressing the kind of love Jesus showed for us when He chose to die on a cross for our sins. It is a totally selfless, unconditional love. It is a love that is unquenchable and no matter how much it gives, it is never satisfied. It only wants to give more and more. It is the kind of love that God wants us to have for Him and our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. The last part, “love for our enemies” is the one that gets our flesh in an uproar.Our flesh screams out, we have been wronged by that person and there is no way that I will ever forgive or love that person or those people. But Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray “forgive us as we forgive others” and we are also told:
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matt. 6:14, 15 NIV
This is a requirement for those of us who have been born again. Our flesh is perishing but we are being renewed daily by the living Word of God. So, we must mortify the flesh and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that so richly abides within each of us. That leadership will require us to love and to forgive at all costs.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. — Colossians 3:16 NLT
The only way to have the peace of God rule in our hearts is to get the Word in us and let it dwell richly. What does “dwell richly” even mean? Rich means an abundance way beyond more than enough. To get that much Word in us, requires that we spend a lot of time meditating on the Word. Once we have meditated on the Word, it fills our thoughts. That leads us to praising God and having an attitude of gratitude. That is right thinking and that leads to right words and right deeds (actions). We will be able, by the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, to do everything in His name and for His glory. If we practice doing things in this manner, praise and thanksgiving will become as natural as breathing then Christmas could last all year long.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous