"Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
-I Corinthians 13:4-8
When everything around us is shaking and we wonder what to hold to, we can always hold to the words of Jesus Christ and look at His life. Jesus calls us to love our brother, our neighbor and our enemy.
To love our brother, we lay down our life for the least of these. To love our neighbor, we put aside our goals and destination in order to care for him. The priest and the Levite passed by carefully on the other side because their destination and their goals were of more importance than the care of the wounded man. I have acted in this way myself and it is only because of the grace and work of Jesus Christ that I am growing in His perfect love. May we all grow up into the fullness of the maturity of Christ Jesus so that we have and show forth the patient and costly mercy of the good Samaritan.
To love our enemy, we do as Jesus did and trust our honor, our reputation and our very life to Abba as we turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and bless those that curse us and pray for those that spitefully use us.
No matter what happens, we can hold to the words of Jesus:
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!
Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!
Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!
Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!
Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you."
-Matthew 5:3:12, AMPC
We are saved through the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord. The mark of a disciple of Jesus is love as Jesus showed it to us through His words and through His life, death and resurrection.
If we try to hold on to any other thing, no matter how good that thing may appear to be- such as our assets, our strength, our works, our knowledge, our busy activities and our outward appearance, they will in the end all fall away, but the fruits of abiding in Jesus will bring the Father lasting glory. I have been one who has clung to doctrine, teachings, works, self righteousness and self justification and who has seen all of them fall away.
I know that this process is a truly frightening and disorienting one, but we may fully trust Jesus Christ our Lord, because He will not let us down. He is utterly trustworthy and Jesus will fully complete and bring to maturity and perfection that work that He has begun in us.
Jesus is doing a work in His church right now that is sacred. I find myself increasingly falling at His feet in reverence, in repentance and in grateful trust. The safest place for us is to be at the foot of the cross as He shakes all that can be shaken in order to bring forth His glorious and living church, so that we can shine out His love to the world in a powerful and living way that brings glory to the name of our Father.
When we stand before Jesus Christ face to face, His name and His alone will be exulted. All our works will be seen to have been from Him and to shine forth glory to Him, or they will simply fall away.
I am acutely aware of this on a daily basis. Jesus has lately filled me with the profound reverence and trembling awe of God, so much that I have at times had to sink down physically to my knees, unable anymore to stand. I put my whole faith and trust in Jesus' faithfulness and I submit myself entirely to His care and authority.
I cannot stand on my own, because of myself I have no ground to stand on. I cannot stand alone, because I need my brothers and sisters in Christ to teach, guide, encourage and correct me. With all my brothers and sisters, I stand on Christ the solid Rock in humble and grateful adoration, because He truly is our righteous Savior, a wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace, and of the increase of His Kingdom and of His peace there shall be no end.
Now may our righteous and loving Father bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace. You are forgiven, welcomed, included and appreciated. As Jesus guides you, may you lie down in green pastures and be led by Jesus beside still waters and may your soul be restored by His peace that passes understanding. Jesus restores your soul; He gently leads you in the paths of righteousness for His own name's sake.
You are the beloved son of God, filled with His unconditional love. You have always been with Abba and all that He has is yours. At any time you may come in from slaving in the fields, you may come in to the mercy seat and be welcomed right into His arms, held close against His heart of love that beats for you.
You are the workmanship of Jesus Christ, and through Him, you will walk in those good works planned and prepared for you by God. He has raised you up with Jesus Christ and made you to sit together with Him, in order that in ages to come, you might be a living example of the extraordinary beauty of the grace, kindness and goodness of God toward you.
We have been born a new creation, born of the Spirit of God, translated out of the darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. Faithful is Jesus Christ who has called us to Himself and He will also fulfill His own call on our lives by hallowing and keeping us. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ our Lord, and may we all be wholly filled and flooded with Jesus Christ Himself, having the richest measure of His divine presence, able to quickly follow and obey Him, to show Him forth to the lost and hurting world.
Now may the holy and consuming fire of Abba's love fall upon the acceptable sacrifice of our contrite and humble hearts, hearts that have been washed with grief again and again, and may that holy fire come down, consume the grief and set our hearts ablaze with His burning love, in order that through Jesus Christ the true Vine, we may go and do those good works that He had prepared for us to do before the foundation of the world, that we might glorify the one true and Living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and turn the hearts of those who are lost back to their Heavenly Daddy, and thereby be filled with the joy of God, and that we might have the priceless privilege of hearing those words from Jesus Christ our beloved Lord- "Well done, good and faithful servant.
And Jesus answered them, The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]
If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
Now My soul is troubled and distressed, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour [of trial and agony]? But it was for this very purpose that I have come to this hour [that I might undergo it].
[Rather, I will say,]
Father, glorify (honor and extol) Your [own] name!
Then there came a voice out of heaven saying,
I have already glorified it, and I will glorify it again."