JOHN 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
THEME OF THE DAY. THE LIFE OF LOVE. The ID card a Christian carries identifying them as followers of the Lord Jesus is that of love. It is also the family badge of all true believers. Jesus makes it clear in today’s scripture, we are His people called, empowered, privileged, and responsible to live a life of love; His love controlling us in all situations and relationships (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14). Now, before we move into the “meat” of today’s nugget, pause and ask yourself, “Do I have a reputation of being a person who loves other Christians as evidenced by my obedience to the Apostle John’s exhortation – Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Don’t rush through that question of self-examination. It is critical for your spiritual health and assurance in your walk with the Lord. So, the life of love? Let’s look at it in three directions.
First, there is the priority of the life of love. In his first letter, the Apostle Peter writes to a group of young believers in Asia Minor and gives them this priority – Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Friends, this is the glue that keeps relationships together and healthy. Take away this priority and every relationship, including in our churches, will digress to ugly selfishness that grieves God’s Spirit, removes His blessings, and unless repented of, will cause severe, even irreversible consequences, in our testimonies for Christ, individually and as a corporate body of believers. The priority of love must be just that – the priority in our lives.
Next, the life of love must be defined and directed. It is one thing to hear a sermon telling us “Do this” but never giving us solid application on “how to do this”. Jesus doesn’t leave us to figure out the practice of the life of love on our own. Go back up and read today’s scripture. Jesus gives the command to “love one another” and then the “how to” by pointing to Himself – “just as I loved you.” He is the example, the model, and the one to measure whether or not we are living the life of love. And how did the Lord love? Many ways, but here are three – sacrificially, consistently, and impartially. Let’s evaluate ourselves along those lines. If we are living the life of love it will be costly, not convenient (sacrificially); it will be day in and day out, not sporadic (consistently); and it will not pick and choose who to love based on likes and dislikes toward people (impartially).
Well, by now, we should be thinking, “How can I possibly do this life of love? It is impossible.” And we would be right which is exactly where God wants us – to acknowledge our insufficiency so we may rely on His sufficiency. God has already given us the capacity to love as He commands. We are told “and the love of God has been shed abundantly in our hearts” (Romans 5:5). We don’t need to ask God for His love to love others. We need to faithfully ask Him to teach us to practice the love He has already given us. Remember, what God commands of us, He empowers us to obey the command.
The life of love. It is who we are in Christ. May we strive to make our position more our practice in loving others.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to learn to be controlled by Your Son’s love and thus give evidence that I belong to Your Son.”
QUOTE: “It is a contradiction to profess to be a Christian and not practice Christ’s love as a Christian.”