Devotion #172

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.

John 13:34-35 ESV

It’s easy to love our spouses when we’re delighting in them. When they’re displaying those qualities that attracted us to them, when they act within our expectations, when they make us feel special or they are kind to us, it’s easy to love them. When they’re encouraging us or making us feel good about ourselves, when we’re getting what we want, demonstrating love isn’t challenging. But these aren’t the moments God is referring to when He gives us this commandment. He already knows we love well where it’s easy to love. He wants us to love where it’s hard.

Biblical love is not a delight in who a person is, rather it’s a deeply felt commitment to helping the people in our lives be what they ought to be—a loved child of God. It’s not an emotional response that focuses on how that person makes us feel in the moment. Biblical love focuses on communicating God’s relentless, pursuing, unconditional love to the other person so their desire to know Him increases. That’s His plan. He wants our spouses to know they are a deeply loved child of God, and it’s our job to communicate that to them. How do we do that?

We love them. We forgive them when they hurt us, we don’t insist on our way, but allow them to have their way. We are patient and kind to them, even when they’re not. We are not irritable or resentful when they are difficult, instead we believe that God loves them as He loves us. We look for ways we can be sacrificial in our love toward them.  

God commands us to love one another because it is the way we bring His kingdom to this broken world. The way we love one another is how we demonstrate we are His disciples; it’s how people know Him, see Him, experience Him. Loving others well is the most important thing we do. But this is the thing we get wrong most often. We think the most important thing is to prove our point, to be superior, to be right. Some think the most important thing is our rights or our expectations. Many think the most important thing is correcting the sin of others or shaming those who are broken. Some of us think the most important thing is how much we tithe, where we go to church, or how many ministries we serve. Or maybe the most important thing is our address, our career, or our car. Some even think the most important thing is whether people think you’re intelligent or accomplished. What’s the most important thing in your life?

The most important thing is how we love. How much time do you spend thinking about how well you love others? When you’re planning your day or your life, do you consider how well you can love others in your plan? Is your day spent serving your needs or serving the needs of others? Love should come first—everything else second.

This is the work of the kingdom, this is how we bring people to Christ, this is how we disciple. We love. We win them without a word, but with our actions of love. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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