The Power of Love Gives Us a Debt of Love
Pastor Cory's series on the Power of Love is full of practical applications of love. Let's also remember we always have a debt of love. Romans 13:8-10 says:
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Paul's encouragement is for us to not be debtors, to pay what we owe. Some have interpreted this to mean that Christians should not have mortgages or car loans, that's reading too much into the text. In reality the original language used here is present tense. This means we should be active in paying off debt. We should make a plan to not constantly live in a state of indebtedness. As Christians we are to have a lifestyle that has a good reputation in the community.
The one exception to a lifestyle of indebtedness is living a life in debt to love. Our obligation to love others will never be fulfilled. Our love can't be in the past, it must always be in the present. Even when we feel that we have no love to give, we are to love anyway, drawing from the never ending source of love found in God through Jesus. We have been loved with an infinite amount of love. How could we ever repay an infinite amount? So, we always have a debt to extend love.
According to Jesus, love is the greatest command. He summarized all of the Law in this way:
'And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ' Matthew 22:35-40 ESV
Our greatest and never ending debt is love. For this very reason we should continue to learn what it means to love. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a disciple of love. Our debt to love includes seeking to understand how to love and then applying what we learn to our everyday lives. We are called to look intently into love and to put in the work required to translate love into our beliefs, words, and actions.
This debt and this calling is much like learning a new language . First, dictionaries and other resources are used to understand the meaning of phases, vocabulary and language structures. Next, opportunities are given to practice the new mechanics of this new language. During this process there is a struggle to form the new sounds because the tongue has to shape itself differently. However, after much practice, the new language becomes second nature. And lastly, the only way to keep the new language second nature is to continue to practice.
Since the beginning God has been teaching us love. Love is our highest calling and our most important practice. The power of love is great, the application of love is practical and its debt will never be repaid. So every time you think about love, every time you hear the word "love", every time you see love or feel love remember that God IS love. Be a student of love. Never relax about love because there will always be love to apply, there will always be love to remember and there will always be love to learn. Always ask yourself, "How can I love?"
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