“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…” (1 Pet. 4:8). The command is clear, straightforward, and specific. Above and beyond everything else that may go on in the life of a local church – worship services, bible studies, ministry projects, financial, administrative, and facility needs, various events and activities, etc. – one thing is absolutely essential and indispensable: growing in this earnest love for each other. The earnestness of love that Peter speaks of has to do with intentional, strenuous, sustained effort. It’s a love that is eager to forgive and restore, because, as Peter goes on to say, “…love covers a multitude of sins”. This is tenacious love, which humbly moves toward people in a local church, not away from them.
Anyone who has walked with other believers in a local church understands the significance of this command! Let’s be honest: it’s downright scary, hard, and often painful to pursue this earnest love with specific people in a specific local church like RCG. We can be easily tempted to become cold and indifferent to the necessity of pursuing this earnest love. But if we give in to such temptations, we fail to be what God would have us to be as His people – regardless of however involved we might be with various church activities and events.
Beloved, as God Himself loves us in Christ with this earnest, holy, persevering love, how can we who belong to Him do anything less? His grace is sufficient for all He commands of us. May He continue to grow and strengthen us in the pursuit of this earnest love with each other, that His glory would be all the more displayed through us to the watching world (Jn. 13:34-35).
I’m so grateful for each of you, and the privilege of growing in Him together at RCG!