This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 JOHN 3:11
Most Christians, if they have been a believer for any length of time, 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 to not 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.
There are seven questions we can ask ourselves on a regular basis 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 the feelings of another, 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 for the purpose of serving 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 instill 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 the needs of another person 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, First Place for Health Speaker
This devo taken from Better Together, available now in the First Place for Health online store.