February 2016

Nikki Ho-ShingFebruary is here and with this month of love comes many opportunities to learn more about spiritual love compared to natural love. The mid-month arrival of Valentine’s Day in particular evokes gratitude for the love we share in relationships and marriages, as well as between family and friends. It’s easy to celebrate the love we share between those we view favorably. But what if we also heed the Lord’s call to expand our understanding of love?

In Luke¬†6:35, He calls us to not only love those close to us who we have positive and affirming relationships with. In fact, He directs us to specifically “love our enemies and do good towards them.” He reminds us that He too, God our Savior, is good to those who are “ungrateful and unkind.” What we sometimes forget is that we too can be that ungrateful and unkind person and our natural minds struggle to fulfill this command.

But we can only begin to accomplish this through accepting that God is love. It’s one of the few ways we, in our natural minds, can understand love on the larger scale we are called to. In 1 John 4, God’s people are instructed: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” What follows is this: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11 ESV)

This passage poignantly reminds us that while we consider some people undeserving of our love, really we are all undeserving of the love of Christ, aren’t we? While our natural minds want to stop us from loving those who curse and persecute us, we know that even in our own sin and unbelief and doubt, God has loved us. His love for us is steadfast, unchanging, and available to all–we know this because we are addressed as His beloved, or dearly and much loved. To know Him is to know love, and to love everyone is the only way to fully know Him. While we celebrate the love we share between family, friends, and our loved ones, February is an opportunity to extend our capacity for loving all people, especially those we feel the most removed from. Doing so, we are promised, will yield “great” spiritual rewards.

Written By,
Nikki Ho-Shing
Writing Contributor for The Holy Tabernacle
February 2016