This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 JOHN 3:11
If they have been a believer for any length of time, most Christians know that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and the second is like it—love your neighbor as yourself. However, Jesus says in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Whoa! This loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is hard enough, but Jesus is now saying don’t just love like we love, but love like Jesus loves! John, who was in the room when Jesus revealed this new command, emphasizes it again in the verse above.
This love is not a brotherly love, but an agapao love—a God-like love. It is a love that looks out for the best interests of the one being loved and is sacrificial by its very definition. It is a love that is impossible for us apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.
We can ask ourselves seven questions regularly that will give us an idea of whether or not we love as God would love. First, do I show compassion? This is the ability to connect in a caring way with others’ feelings, usually at their moments of greatest need. Second, am I available? This is the decision to value people simply because of their inherent value and to seek ways to spend time with them to serve them. Third, do I forgive? This is the willingness to relinquish our own pursuit of justice. Fourth, am I an encourager? This is the commitment to instilling hope in others. Fifth, do I honor those around me? This is the readiness to direct applause toward others. Sixth, am I accepting of others? This is the choice to value and harmonize with other people who are different than us. And finally, do I submit? This is the capacity to defer to authority or another person’s needs instead of demanding the lead position or preference.
So, how are you doing in this new command?
Action Item: Take one of the questions each day and live out that trait. At the end of each day, journal how the Holy Spirit empowered you to love as He loves.
Becky Turner, Auburn, GA