** If you would like to receive these devotionals in your email each day, click here to sign-up. **
As we communicated on Day 1, truth and grace are anchored in love; first, by understanding God’s love for us and then, second, by allowing God to demonstrate it through us. I John defines love for us. He tells us that God is love. That looks quite different than what is widely accepted in our current culture. Love is more than a feeling and it goes beyond all the conditions that we sometimes assign to it. To see how love is practically lived out and to give you a better understanding of how grace and truth in your daily relationships is rooted in love, take a moment to read through the following passage.
If you want to know what Jesus meant by “loving one another,” watch how He loved. He called sin what it was—SIN—and then freely paid the price for ALL of it. Then He never condemned us for the payment that He made. He doesn’t stop loving us when we make the same mistake over and over again. Instead, He continues to love and forgive us in spite of our sinful nature.
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and notice the astounding way the Apostle Paul describes authentic love.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13
In the first couple of verses, Paul lists three examples of what happens when you do something without love. In keeping with our theme for the week, you can summarize these examples with two simple statements:
If I speak in truth without love, my words mean nothing.
If I extend grace from an unloving heart, it means nothing.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” And in Ephesians 4:15 he commands us to “speak the truth in love“.
As we continue to drill down into practically living out truth and grace this week, consider doing the following:
Step One: Throughout the week we have been challenging you to think of relationships where you can apply grace and truth. Pick one. We aren’t saying to ignore all the others, but ask the Holy Spirit who He wants you to begin focusing on.
Step Two: Commit to pray for that relationship daily
Step Three: Pick out a few of the following ways to apply truth and grace in that relationship:
- Speak truthful words to build up, not to bring down.
- Focus on their needs rather than your own.
- Freely forgive.
- Swallow your pride and say, “I’m sorry,” and “I was wrong.”
- Identify a verse in I Corinthians 13 to apply to the relationship.
- Don’t keep score of what is fair.