One of my favorite movies growing up was “Back to the Future.” The opening scene of the film portrays Michael J. Fox plugging in a guitar to a GINORMOUS amplifier (he seems to skip the note that says to not play). One strummed chord blows him all the way to the back wall, causing him to instantly regret his decision to skip the warning! The film is full of iconic music from the 80’s. The main song, “The Power of Love” was written specifically for the film by Huey Lewis.
Love is a theme that has inspired many songwriters over the years. Celine Dion, Beyonce, Lionel Ritchie, and Whitney Houston sang about love (If you’re singing “I Will Always Love You” as you’re reading this, you’re in good company!).
Peter today reminds readers of the “Power of Love”. He begins this verse with, “Most important of all . . .”. This isn’t negating any previous statements. We are still called to be “disciplined in our prayers.” But Peter is pointing out the importance of showing “deep love” to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. What, in fact, is “deep love”? Scholar and theologian Craig Keener comments,
It has to be a “deep” love, but the English word doesn’t adequately convey the sense of the Greek “at full stretch” (compare 1:22). Why at full stretch? Because this love will be stretched to the limit by the demands made on it.Craig Keener – IVP New Testament Commentary
Peter calls Jesus Followers into this “deep love” that goes well beyond a preference or even sincere affection. Love is not concerned about having affinity with others — through a similar taste in music, a shared hobby , comparable age or marital status. It’s easy to spend our lives loving those who are compatible with our preferences, but this is not “love at full stretch.” This “stretchy” type of love demands that we move beyond our natural inclinations and move into loving even those for whom we find it difficult to find any affection.
This type of love “covers a multitude of sins.” It’s too small to think of “sin” as merely something that goes against God’s standard, rather it includes what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13:5:
“Love . . . it keeps no record of being wronged.”1 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT Emphasis added)
As we are called into the type of “full stretch” love that Jesus calls us into, we will be annoyed, irritated, disappointed, and even offended by the community that Jesus calls us to love. But the type of love on offer from God AND required for us is one that is ready to go to the ends of its own ability or power.
As you read today, who is God calling you to love? Is it your spouse, kids, parents, extended family, neighbors, or coworkers? How can you love at “full stretch” those who are difficult to love?
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.1 Peter 4:8–9 (NLT)
We are praying for you!