1 John 4: 7
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.”
Today, I’m quoting a section of Charles Swindoll’s commentary, Insights for Living: 1 John. He gives us a way to apply what we learned yesterday about God’s love for us that really made me think, and so I decided to pass it along to you. Are you up for the challenge?
“We’re to love one another – those brothers and sisters in Christ beside whom we worship during our Sunday services, among who we sit in Sunday school, with whom we minister in the nursery, and whom we pass by silently in the hallways. And that’s just the brothers and sisters in our own churches! We’re to love them unconditionally, selflessly, and sacrificially.
But how? What’s that supposed to look like? Isn’t it enough that we drop a few bucks in the offering plate on Sunday morning so the church has enough money to turn on the air conditioning and my brother in Christ doesn’t overheat? Or does the Lord expect something more tangible … and more real?
To help get a clearer picture of what’s involved in genuinely loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, take some time to reflect on some verses that flesh out the concept of loving one another. For each of the passages below, jot down a few words that summarize what specific actions would be expected in light of this kind of love. Then note a specific person (or persons) in your life for whom you can exercise this love. When you’ve completed the chart, prayerfully consider how you can start living in light of Christ’s command to love, by the power of the abiding Spirit.” (pages 117 – 118)
If you want to take this challenge seriously, go get a piece of paper and a pen. Put a line down the centre of the page. For each of the following verses, in the first column write down what God is asking you to do. Then think about a particular situation in your life that this passage speaks to. What do you need to change? What person comes to your mind – do you need to change your attitude/behaviour to this person? Is there something you need to start doing? Write what comes to mind in the second column.
Our 5 challenging verses for today:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12: 9 – 13
“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet. These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13: 8 – 10
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Galatians 5: 13 – 15
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4: 1 – 3
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10: 24 – 25
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed after reading what God wants you to do? Here is our song for today – God Help Me by Plumb.