Previously Paul has talked about planting roots deep into the love of God. Just what does that look like, Paul?
So he continues. In fact, he offers three statements in this next about about being in love. Our culture has a particular picture of in love. Boy meets girl. Quickening pulse. Flirtation. Affection. Consumption of an experience and emotion. Total self-gratification at the cost of another.
This is nothing like what Paul is suggesting.
In the model of Jesus, in love is total self-emptying for the sake of another.
Remember, Jesus summed up all of the Law and Prophets (in other words, the whole Old Testament) in loving God and love of neighbor.
…bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit…
One evidence of in love is a pursuit of community, shared experience, shared joy, shared sorrow with each other.
In a world where people define themselves by who they disagree with, Paul suggests that Christians define themselves by who they agree with. A church represents a place of unity instead of division. Sounds like a no brainer. But the practice, not so easy, right?
How can you not just look for, but eager chase after, unity with people today?
…speaking the truth in love…
Ever use this as an excuse just to say something mean? Or been on the receiving of it? I’m just speaking the truth in love, man. That’s not the in love Paul is talking about.
Sometimes the truth in love means “tough love.” And sometimes the truth in love means expressing gratitude. Sometimes it’s encouragement. The people around us need to hear good things out of our mouths.
…so that it builds itself up in love.
Paul’s talking about the body of Christ, that living organism of which we are all a part. We are growing, changing, developing. What we are is not what we will be. We have not yet reached full maturity, and that’s where God is leading us.