“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
To love others is not a new command, Leviticus 19:18 stated “Do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge, against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus expands Leviticus, and it is revolutionary, for He tells us to love others the same way He (Jesus) does.
Yikes – that sounds great on Sunday morning, but wasn’t Jesus setting a bar pretty high here, making a point? Jesus’ love was absolutely sacrificial, it’s what attracts non-believers. I understand its goals, one is to keep us as believers, as brothers strong and unified in a hostile world. That is what we say we desire, but wow, talk about a challenge.
And then we have to prove it?? Jesus says we are to be this Christ-like sacrificial love in order to be known as His disciples!
I’m pretty comfortable with some like-minded guys at church – there are times we don’t even get out of the lobby before complaining about politics, leaders, and occasionally the bickering, and division in the church itself.
So it’s pretty obvious I/we need to go work on our words, in-order-to even ACT; this has to start with ATTITUDE. How can we love others as Jesus loves us?? This is HARD to do.
I can start a list of things like “Helping others” (when it is inconvenient). By giving when it hurts (ouch). By absorbing criticism and harsh words without complaining or fighting (ouch, ouch). Actually, caring more about others’ welfare than my own. We know these things and can sort of do it with family and some friends. Doing it all the time as Jesus did — that requires supernatural empowerment.
(Author’s pause – I had in my mind where this assignment was going; but uuugh “that” empowerment is pushing me into some awkward waters). So here we go-
“1 Corinthians 13”. Yah we hear it all the time at weddings, and a feel good sermon, but …
If I don’t have love … I have nothing.
Love is patient, it’s kind, it doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it’s not rude, it’s not self-seeking, it’s not easily angered, it doesn’t keep score, doesn’t delight in evil. It rejoices, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. It doesn’t fail.
The clincher is I claim to be a Kingdom man – truth is I’m being a child in some talking and reasoning at church with friends in the lobby (and where else?). Do I have the guts as a man to go look in the mirror right now, see myself and say “I am patient, I am kind, I rejoice over others, I protect others, I trust, I hope, I persevere, I will not fail?
This week we are going to further answer that question on guts, and read some inspiring stories to love one another as disciples.
Daily Battle Order: Open your bible to 1 Corinthians 13 and read verses 4-13 aloud, replacing the word LOVE with your NAME. Do it now, declaring that YOU are patient, you do not envy. YOU never fail!
(Your Name) is patient, (Name) is kind. (Name) does not envy, (Name) does not boast, (Name) is not proud. (Your Name) does not dishonor others, (Name) is not self-seeking, (Name) is not easily angered, (Name) keeps no record of wrongs. (Your Name) does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (Your Name) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (Your Name) never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I (Name) was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I (Name) became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.