How To Live and Love Well
One thing is certain, God has no lack of resources. He has a family of believers on earth with gifts to share and hearts that desire to help.
It isn’t hard to identify people who belong to God. Those who are truly His show it by the way they live and the way they love. True Christians stand out. Peter touches on a number of characteristics of Christ’s followers in these verses from 1 Peter 4. As he writes to believers who were suffering under very difficult oppression and persecution from Rome he reminds us that suffering is an opportunity for God to develop the character of Christ in us. Turning from sin and humbly enduring ridicule from those who don’t like our lifestyle are two ways we begin to walk out our faith. But Peter goes on to address some very practical ways we can live and love well, therefore, showing the world who God is.
We want our lives to count. We want to steward our time, talents and treasures for we will each give an account to God. Peter reminds his readers that one day this world will end with Christ’s return. He says, “Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7, NLT). I am reminded of the movie War Room, when I think about the need to pray more earnestly and consistently for everyone I love in my life, for those in my family and those in my sphere of influence. Living well for God means learning to pray about everything and everyone, developing routines and disciplines of prayer. It’s especially important when we are suffering hardship, making difficult decisions or experiencing trouble or anxiety. To live well we must learn to pray in earnest. The days are short and there’s much at stake.
Then Peter writes, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other…” Some translations read “fervent love for one another”. Love is the most noticeable characteristic of Christ’s followers (John 13:34-35) and it’s tremendously needed during times of testing and persecution. We need the love of God demonstrated to us when our needs are great. And we need the love of God being lived out among believers in difficult times as a testimony to the world. Love is something we have to work at. It almost always requires sacrifice. It most certainly requires a humble and generous attitude. Love requires sharing what we have. “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (V. 9). We must not just invite others into our home in the hopes of them returning the favor but sharing with those who are in need. Are you loving others well during these difficult days? Are you aware of other’s needs? Are you helping others as God enables you?
We will demonstrate the love of Christ to the glory of God as we live and love well. What an opportunity we have as the Church during these uncertain times. One thing is certain, God has no lack of resources. He has a family of believers on earth with gifts to share and hearts that desire to help. Be earnest in your prayers and generous with your life. Then the love of God will be all the more evident to the world.