I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Diana Rose (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“This I command you, that you love one another.” -John 15:17 NASB
Love one another
What is love? Biblically defined love is an active and ongoing choice to obey God by seeking the good of another out of love for Him. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives specific attitudes and behaviors of love:
Love is patient,
love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
[love] does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own [way],
[love] is not provoked,
[love] does not take into account a wrong suffered,
[love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
[love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails
Notice the Bible does not describe love as a feeling or sentiment. The Bible clearly outlines how love is lived out through a host of sacrificial actions and responses expressed in humility toward others. Do I actively love others as laid out in the Bible or do I love others according to my fickle feelings?
Love one another
Who is “one another?” Are they simply my immediate family and closest friends? Are they the like-minded people I naturally gravitate towards? Are they the families in my community that are in the same life stage as I am? Or are they the people I see every Sunday but don’t talk to because they’re not in my circle of influence? Are they the people in my life I have little in common with and rarely interact with? Are they acquaintances whose opposing views and opinions make them hard to love?
As believers we are called to love God and love all people. “All people” includes our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors, the lost, and even our enemies and those who persecute us! In short, we are to live lives that display Christ-like love to everyone around us, even the occasional stranger who randomly crosses our path. When we pray for our city, country or world we are biblically loving people we may never meet!
Love one another
How do I apply this kind of love in my daily life? Do I regularly show patience and kindness to family and friends? Do I routinely check up on members of my Bible study with an attitude of love? Do I faithfully pray for the families in my community group? What about new visitors at church, do I take time to love them with a greeting? What about the elderly who can’t go out, do I visit them and sacrificially love them with my time? What about the families that are worshipping from home? Am I checking in with people on the periphery of my life to encourage them in love?
There are so many opportunities to love one another through prayer, a meal, a kindness or a greeting, yet the demands of life can deplete our limited resources of time and energy. Prayerfully consider specific people you can show love to and ask God for grace and stamina to reach out to them, even with a simple text or phone call. Ask God to help you develop a habit of daily seeking to intentionally love people from all areas of your life.
Love one another
No one loves like Jesus! The reality is that left to ourselves none of us can love one another biblically. If we are honest, we are simply way too busy loving ourselves. The heart is naturally self-absorbed, and tends to be more concerned with the needs of self rather than those of others. This is why we need Jesus, to rescue us from ourselves!
Praise God for the transformative power of the cross! Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us! His sacrificial love is our example of how we can love one another. If you have placed your faith in Christ you are a new creation. Galatians 2:20 affirms that, because of the completed work of Jesus, we who believe can love like Him; “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
What a sweet encouragement to know I am free to love others as Christ has loved me!
Prayer: Lord thank you for loving me and sending your Son to rescue me from loving only myself. Will you show me creative ways to connect with others so I can love them well for your glory? Lord help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus who is the perfect example of biblical love.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Mark 12: 30-31
John 15: 1-17
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Questions to Reflect on: