Devotion #166

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 4:20-21 ESV

Nothing demonstrates our need for His amazing grace like our inability to love others well. I’m not talking about those easy to love people, I’m talking about the difficult people in your life. The ones who push your buttons, irritate you or annoy you, act without considering you, or have hurt you deeply. Sometimes it isn’t one person in particular, but it’s a type of person that’s difficult for you to love—someone who is shallow, inconsiderate, uninformed, or rude. Nothing screams we need a savior like our inability to love others well.

Sometimes the most difficult person to love well is your spouse. You’ve grown irritated with their ways and bored with their jokes, or they’ve repeatedly neglected your needs and been insensitive to your desires. Perhaps they’ve betrayed a relational trust, or even a financial one, and you’ve been challenged to allow that wound to heal. Nothing screams we need a savior like our inability to love our spouses well.

Yet this is what He calls us to do. Scripture is filled with an overwhelming list of dos and don’ts and countless examples of lives lived poorly and lives lived for Him. There are pages and pages of wisdom, yet when Jesus is asked for the most important thing, He says love. He boils thousands of pages of commands and stories down to one thing—love. That means if we get this one thing wrong, we fail at all of it. Everything He has told us is about how we are to love. All the examples, wisdom, and prayers we find throughout the pages of scripture—they’re all about how to love. The whole reason He came to this earth is to show us how to love.

Our response in every situation is to be love. When we don’t know what to do, we are to love. When we’re struggling with a decision, we are to love. When we are seeking advice about how to handle a difficult situation, we are to love. Simply put, ask yourself what’s the most loving thing I can do right now? That’s the answer. That’s always going to be the answer to every question you ask.

The problem with this formula is that our needs dictate our love and responses to others. Think about it. What you consider to be the most important thing is guiding how you behave and treat other people. Whether we need a better job or a better spouse, whether we need to be respected or we need to be loved, whether we need to be understood or we need to be supported—our needs dictate our responses.

Our greatest need today is the gospel. Our greatest need is not a better house or a better spouse, it’s not to be respected or supported, it’s not to have obedient children or financial security. Our greatest need today is Jesus, who came down to this earth to die for your sins to teach you how to love.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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