“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Col. 1:1-8
When the apostle Paul writes to the faithful believers in the Lord Jesus Christ in the letter above, he shares how he has heard of their FAITH IN CHRIST and what? Their “LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS (upper case added)”. In plain English, they were known for their faith in Jesus and for THEIR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.
The saints are believers in Jesus. THEY LOVED EACH OTHER. In obedience to the Lord’s greatest commands to LOVE HIM WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS and what? TO LOVE OTHERS AS OURSELVES. They were faithful to the Lord in their love for Him and each other. But please don’t miss an exceedingly important “small” word in his letter with very “big” significance.
ALL the saints. That’s right. They loved ALL the saints. Meaning they didn’t pick and choose whom to love. They were known for ALL loving ALL of each other! Now if that’s not convicting, I don’t know what is when it comes to love.
We are NOT to pick and choose whom to love. We are simply to love others. But how is this possible given some people just aren’t people we feel we should or even can love?
Please look at the verses above again. What do you see? “YOUR LOVE IN THE SPIRIT (upper case added)”. How can we love fellow believers in Christ, or even those who do not believe in Jesus, when our flesh simply says no way, no can do, impossible, I ain’t gonna do that, I’m not loving that person, I will NOT love that person, etc.?
This is how. IN CHRIST. THROUGH CHRIST. FOR CHRIST. In and through the SPIRIT OF CHRIST who lives inside those who believe in Him as Lord. We seek Him. We yield to Him. We desire more and more to be filled with more and more of Him. We rid ourselves of our sins through repentance including our wrong attitudes and thoughts and we are filled with His Spirit and fill ourselves continually with HIS WORD.
If there is anything we who follow Jesus should be known for, it’s that we live in obedience to God’s greatest commands – that we love Him with all our hearts and love others as ourselves. NOT that we pick and choose those we feel like or think we can love. But that we love ALL the saints (believers) and all people for that matter.
This doesn’t mean we need to like them. Doesn’t mean we need to hang out with them all the time. Doesn’t even mean God wants us to have a relationship with them at all beyond crossing paths with them. That, friend, in what context we are in or not in someone else’s life is UP TO THE LORD and HIS WILL FOR US.
But regardless of His will concerning how and how often and even if we engage in ongoing fellowship with others, the bottom line is that we need to HAVE FAITH IN JESUS AS LORD and LOVE OTHERS IN HIS NAME FOR HIS GLORY.