Living Out Love

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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Deep down, myself and I believe many people in the church, would like to think that we are loving people. On the most part we are polite and courteous. When the leader of our church service or youth group initiates hand shaking, we actively take part and even transmit a welcoming attitude, but too often our love ends there. "Hi, how are you?" then onto the next soul until everyone works their way back to their seat. And many times we are foolish enough to think this is enough.

The truth of the matter is, we can welcome at arms length all we want, but lives are not going to be changed because of it. Lives are going to change when true Christian love is lived out.

So how do we as Christians truly live out love? I believe the answer to that question lies in Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the Bible.In The Message he writes that we as Christians should "find beauty in everyone" (that's found in Romans 12). Just think about that for a second. Usually the problem with our love is that there is a hidden motive in it all. We have no problems loving our friends because they love us back. We usually don't have issues loving our pastors because of all of the things they do for us, but to love someone based on nothing but love is quite difficult. Yet, God in His Holy Word gives us the answer on how to love that way. He commands us to find beauty in everyone, because in truth, everyone has something very beautiful about them. The key is finding that beauty and it's not always an easy thing to do.

Too often we as a church search for beauty on the outside in the same way the world does. Don't believe me? Just take a quick look at our "popular groups" or cliques in the church. What do all of the members have in common? More than likely they are the same kind of people who would be popular within any high school. How often do you see a so-called underdog held with the same esteem as a clean-cut, Bible-college bound, guitar player? If your church is like many, it doesn't happen too often.

But we can't put all of the blame on the church because really, the church is you and I put together with other believers. Living love is a personal responsibility that we all have and it's time that both you and I took that responsibility seriously. Church programs are great to meet certain needs, but love doesn't need a program to occur. Love happens when you visit someone who is sick in the hospital. Love happens when you invite the newcomer to your church over for supper. Love happens when you spend a few minutes getting to know someone who is usually overlooked. Love happens when we live like Jesus.

In his book Abba's Child, Brennen Manning writes: "The way you are with others everyday, regardless of their status is the true test of faith."I think it's time that we as believers took this test seriously. After all, when we stand before God being able to say that we climbed to the top of the church social ladder isn't going to get us anywhere. Being able to say that we took His commandment to love will and that's what Christianity is all about.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.