“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”
have fervent love
The word “have” in the Greek carries the idea of “keeps on having.” “Fervent” love should not be not sporadic or occasional. God’s desire is for us to love with perseverance unceasingly. God wants us to be eager to preserve our love in a warm environment. The idea is to keep love constant.
“Let brotherly love continue,” Heb. 13:1.
The word “fervent” denotes strained, stretched, eager, earnest, hence, metaphorically, “fervent.” This is an adjective of intensity. Have intense love for others.
The Greek used “fervent” for the taut muscles of an athlete who strains every ounce of energy to win a race. In the 100 yard dash, the runner pushes and stretches his body to stretch across the tape first. This love is intent, earnest, and will extend oneself to the limit for others. Do you exert yourself for others? Do you go out of your way to help others? You say, “Yes, if it is convenient.” However, this love has a quality of fervency that sacrifices self for another person’s welfare.
Jn 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
1 Jn 3:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
This love is the opposite of self-centered love. Sacrificial love gives self to others. We will exert every effort and go to the limit of our strength to love others properly. This love is not sentimental, sloppy emotion but demands the best of our spiritual sinew. It means loving the unlovely, unloving, and unlovable. This love is not easy but will love in the face of insult and injury. We will love others when they do not return our love. We love even love is spurned.
This kind of strenuously sustained love is not blind but recognizes and understands the faults of others (Prov. 10:12; 1 Cor. 13:4-7).
for one another,
Peter does not say “Have fervent love for those without Christ” but for “one another” as Christians.
Christian love requires mussel and sinew.
It is not good enough for Christians to stop rendering malice toward other Christians. Sacrificial love goes far beyond the negative. Positively, sacrificial love intensely loves other Christians. We spare no effort to make sure we love Christians.
Do you keep your love at the boiling point? Do you have an ardent love? This love is not easy. It takes effort to love properly. True love is not sentimental, sloppy emotion but exerts itself to the limit of its strength. This love demands our greatest effort. The Christian loves as an athlete who strains every mussel to reach his goal. This means he will love the unlovely. The believer will love in the face of insult and injury. He loves, although the other person does not return the love.
The Christians of Asia Minor were about to face a storm from the Roman government. They needed to keep short accounts in their relationships. When we face personal the personal storm of suffering, we need to be free from attitude sins. We want to rig our attitudes for the storm. If we do not batten down our hatch and free ourselves from attitude sins, the storms of suffering will sink our ship. We will not be able to face disaster when it comes because we are out of accord with those closest to us.
What we are like on the inside determines how well we will do when disaster comes. For example, the person with attitude sins ties himself up in knots thinking about his guilt. If we keep all the hatches and portholes open when we enter suffering, we will sink our spiritual ship.
Have you adequately rigged yourself for spiritual storms? Do you have a hole below the waterline of your spiritual ship? If you harbor attitude sins, you will not prepare yourself for the storm. You will sink under the trial.