He was temporarily blinded upon seeing a vision of the resurrected Christ. And thus began his new life as a Christian who became a living witness to God’s love and resurrection, spreading the good news and winning converts to the church as inspired by the Holy Spirit in parts of Europe and Asia Minor.
Definition of Love by Saint Paul
In 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Saint Paul writes through the Holy Spirit to inspire us about love:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
With the love of Jesus, the essence of love becomes more meaningful as we see husband and wife, true friends, families, communities and nations become powerfully intertwined with one another professing the kind of pure and unconditional love that Christ Jesus wants all men to know, learn and practice.
Impossible as it may seem, but it is the kind of love that our Heavenly Father has shown to us as manifested since the time of creation where he designated man as ruler and above all of creation.
It was when Adam and Eve became disobedient to God's command not to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of wisdom and knowledge that both were banished from the Garden of Eden, felt ashamed of their nakedness and had to experience the realities and hardships while living this life.
Instead of living an immortal life, they had to experience death as a consequence. And men, henceforth, multiplied, offsprings upon offsprings, good and bad, they began to fill the earth.
Until God sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as promised and as proclaimed by the prophets, born of the Virgin Mary, that through his passion and death on the cross, and his eventual resurrection and ascension into heaven, that man was saved from the sin of Adam and Eve, through baptism in water and in the Name of the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - the Holy Trinity in One God.
Since we have been created out of the love of God, so shall we be saved by the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior and the True Messiah.
And it is in our faith and in following God's commandments and Christ's teachings, we are made complete as these painstakingly lead us to salvation and to life eternal.
As many religious would say, "God never promised us a bed of roses." Otherwise, would we still be challenged to do what is good in this life by following and adhering to his commandments?
With our 'free will,' do we not enjoy our freedom as long as we know and realize our limitations? Do we not know that love comes with a responsibility, as it is not only for ourselves but for others as well?
[Read on related post on hubpost.com: God or Mammon - to Serve only One Master]
Is this not when we learn true discipline and live our life in truth and with the love of Jesus that we better enjoy life with God's blessings seeing us through the afterlife?
The Law of Man and God's Love
Man's laws are basically made to govern people that there may be order in the community but God's love is more supreme than any other law as it surpasses all that was, that is and that will be.
Man can have varied applications of the law of the land but God's love is the one that encompasses all laws as it is limitless, infinite and eternal.
And so is Christ's words, which is God's words.
“I and the Father are one,” as Jesus stated in John 14:11.
And the divinity of Christ has been seen since that time he was born when angels proclaimed his presence in a manger to the nearby shepherds, the day he was baptized by John the Baptist and the heavens were opened as God spoke through the Holy Spirit pleased with His Son in Jesus, during the Transfiguration at the mount as he was seen with Moses and Elijah with God's voice again acknowledging His Son in him and during his resurrection and ascension witnessed by many besides the apostles.
In 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, in the Gospel of St. Paul, he writes to the Corinthians, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written:
“Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Jesus made it clear to his disciples in Matthew 24:35 as he said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
And in John 15:12, Jesus made clear his commandment of love, “… Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
And the more we accept and believe that this life is only temporary, the more we learn the importance of God's wisdom in this life.
Have we not noticed how God has tried to reveal His love for us in this life with the many trials and blessings that have come upon us just to test our faith in Him? Did all these happen by chance or for a reason?
Whenever we do good to others, do we not get back the joy, peace and warmth of others? Is it not God making all these happen? And without Him our Creator, can we live a meaningful life, and find more strength in Him through Christ Jesus, instead of being confused and lost in the face and presence of evil and darkness?
And when we do what is against God's will, do we not feel the guilt, the shame and God's constant reminders that what went wrong is causing us trouble or even illness?
But when we show humility, mercy and forgiveness, love and charity, compassion and understanding towards others, do we not get all these in return making our life easier, healthier and more manageable?
And when we keep on sinning, not listening and not heeding to God's words, do we not stumble and fall along the way, or see something unusual happening in our life that seems to be leading us to the light of God in Christ?
Think about it, God in Jesus has been there all along in your life and yet you still fail to recognize, listen, respond and acknowledge him as he has been calling you to return or join him in his flock.
Yet for those who responded, some of you may still have wandered as your faith wavered having stood on rocky or thorny ground
[Read on this link: "The Parable of the Sower," Matthew 13:3-2)].
Never lose faith, for in the love of Jesus, and with God's mercy and forgiveness, there is hope for those who repent and work their best towards complete renewal.
Should we not thank our loving and merciful God through Jesus for his goodness and faithfulness by serving him in our own way and by becoming a good Christian example to our family and to the community we belong?
Would this not make everybody happy?
Love of God and Self-pity
Christianity begins at home and in 1 Timothy 3:1-5, St. Paul defines the overseer as the "husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.”
If we opt to be ruled by material things or by money, which the evil one prefers, can we ever attain satisfaction and peace in our life?
Is not the true meaning of love, therefore, the love of God, more than the love of material things?
Are we not being deceived by the evil one when we prefer to be blinded by material wealth, power and sins of lust which lead us to more problems, anxiety, fear and with no peace in ourselves and our love ones?
Is not our refusal to admit our own mistakes, our incorrigible spirit, our lack of guilt or remorse over sinful acts, our lack of empathy blaming others yet frown on those who blame us a sign of moral degradation which come out hurting more people including our love ones? Is this not the wrong mind set that needs proper direction and guidance, which otherwise, would cause more trouble than good?
Is this not veering away from the truth where one is trapped into insensibly believing that cheating, spreading lies and hate, doing graffiti everywhere, tattoos or cuttings on the body which is God's temple, cursing and committing slander, creating fear and hurting others' feelings with our uncontrollable emotions and anger are but normal and should be tolerated?
[Read on our related post: "Commentary on - What the Bible Says About Tattoos, and True Peace in Christ Jesus"]
And on encouraging same-sex marriage, are we not encouraging more homosexual practices and sins of lust in our society and unwittingly legalizing pedophile practices, forgetting the lessons on the destruction by God of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Where do we think we are leading our society if we keep on keeping a blind eye on the sins of man, are we not pushing it to further destruction?
Are we not getting into the pitfalls of the so-called 'normalcy bias' which make us think that whenever many people do it, it has become a norm and it is alright to follow and do the same?
And is not love of oneself or selfish love more of self pity than anything else as this leads only to sins of lust, anger, pride, arrogance, hatred and greed, and that any of these takes away the true meaning of love?
Are we not killing ourselves more in this life as we become slaves of sin and of things material, which tend to push us more into the dark side of life?
On the other hand, if we love God by loving our neighbors and sharing with them the love of Jesus, do we not have peace and true happiness?
When asked by Martha to tell her sister Mary to help her with her chores for Jesus’ visit into their home with the apostles, in Luke 10:41 he said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Listening to Jesus’ teachings first and putting them into practice before you go on your chores for whatever purpose and consideration would better equip you to face the trials and challenges in this life as you will be more blessed with God’s words in your path glorifying His name in Jesus.
Life is what we make it, and "we sow what we reap."
While we respect the great sacrifice that others make to live a decent way of life, don't you think attending too much to things that are material can rob us of the time that God has intended for us? And following this strenuous routine can bring about more problems on our health, our safety, our family or on our life long concerns and possessions, aside from losing our direction towards the path to salvation?
In John 6:27 Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
While God wants us to be ever productive in this life using our God given talents and wisdom to glorify His Holy Name, is it not balancing and prioritizing our life to what truly is noble and worth emulating in the eyes of God before us and others the best option that we can make?
Will this too not bring more happiness to all who delights in God's favor?
In Proverbs 37:4, “Delight yourself with the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
As and as in Matthew 6:33, Jesus tell his disciples, "... seek first His (God’s) kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Have you ever realized how many times things just happen and gets into the right place in your life and in your favor whenever you just leave things to God and fully trust in Him as you surrender everything to His will?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Saint Paul, after he admonished everyone to live in peace with each other, to encourage the timid to help the weak, to be patient with everyone, nobody to pay wrong for wrong and to always be kind to each other and to everyone else, he said:
“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 exhorts us in St. Paul, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
In Romans 6:11-14 St. Paul states, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
In 1 John 2:1-6, St. John exhorts all men to walk in the light of Christ, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The many who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly complete in him. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
Further in 1 John 3:13-15, “Do not be surprised my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”
If hating others is tantamount to murder, does this help us further understand the wisdom of loving and forgiving our enemies by guiding them to the light of Jesus?
In Colossians 3:25, “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
And in Romans 12:14-21, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eye of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge, I wrill repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary:
'If your enemy is hungry, feed him,
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
May Saint Paul's definition of love that is pure, with malice to none and love that is 'responsible' as we care for others, further inspire us and make a clear imprint in our minds as we KJOH (keep Jesus in our hearts) and put our 'trust in the Lord.'
I can attest to the truth in the love of Jesus through my life experience. If you feel the same way, stand up for the truth and let your voice be heard that others may see the light. Alleluia.
[Read on our related posts on God's Awesome Works in God's Awesome Creation and "Christ's Teachings Seen in 90:10 Principle" for added inspiration.]
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