Love each other fervently with a pure heart. (v. 22)
Well, that's simple enough -- to understand, that is. To do? Not always. It is not quite as automatic as this might sound for the plain ol' reason of humanity. We are made of the stuff of humanity. Saved and filled with the Holy Spirit may be, but working out that salvation and walk day by day.
So - the doing requires, more often than not, inventory followed by repentance and then a request for grace. Then action (don't forget the doing part) so that it is put into place, much like a stone laid in a foundation.
Inventory: How am I honestly treating my spouse, my sibling, my sister or brother in the Lord? Is there someone I feel slightly irritated by on a regular basis? Someone I avoid by walking the other way when I see them? Are my words toward my spouse filled with a frustrated response rather than patience and appreciation, pointed teasing and jabs, rolled eyes (that's my personal favorite - unfortunately)? How about my siblings, my co-workers? Am I speaking edifying words about a sister in the Lord with that friend as we drink our coffee, or is there a disparaging word shared here and there? Come on, let's be honest. Let's not shy away from the truth by cloaking it with, "Well, it's not often." Or "Honestly, no one can be perfect -- and everyone says this stuff." We, my dear one, are not everyone
. We have been bought with a price, a precious price, for good works, not less than that.
Repent to Him and ask for grace to walk in Love. After all, there will be plenty of opportunities for those around us to experience a lack of love. Instead, we can provide a glimpse of His love to the precious people placed in our lives.
So you've repented to God and sought His grace. Now the situation may call for you to repent to that spouse or sibling or co-worker. Yes. Tell them you are sorry. Acknowledge that you rolled your eyes, or that the teasing actually was a subtle leaking of your frustration, your displeasure. Tell that sister that your irritation resulted in sharp words and you are sorry for a lack of patience and appreciation. Repent to the fellow gossiper for your part in the conversation. Admit to them all that you
failed them, not that they failed you.
And then act in love. Ah, yes. Fervent love: devout, passionate, zealous.
Those words beg for action. Devout love may result in earnest prayer of blessing. Passionate love begs to communicate the dearness of the object of affection. And zealous love is bursting with a longing to serve and bless and DO SOMETHING for that person. Acting - doing, investing energy and time - will cement your commitment to love.
Simple instruction this morning from Peter. Let's not merely read these words, nod, and go on our way. Let's pursue fervent love. It's His desire for us today!