Devotion #176

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

This verse reminds us to embrace the priority God places on love. It’s a commandment, not a suggestion. After all of his preaching on prayer and faith, he chooses in his final message to give a new commandment on love. We need to recognize the incredible value God places on love. Above everything else, we are to love.

In Matthew 22:40, Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.”  These two commandments—love your God and love your neighbor—are everything. If we understand and obey these two commandments, we understand everything that Jesus was trying to teach. Every part of our heart that God works to transform, every trial He allows us to walk through, everything He wants to do in our lives, it all boils down to these two commandments—God wants us to be people who fervently love God and fervently love other people. Every single thing God teaches us in scripture flows from these two commandments—love Him and love each other. How can we not give them top priority? 

Christians can spend so much energy on so many things they believe God calls just—as a people we argue fervently for the rights of the unborn and against gay marriage, we point our fingers at people who don’t live like we do, we look down on fellow Christians who fall into sin. We grumble and nag at our spouses, argue with our family members, and gossip about our co-workers, all because they don’t live up to our expectations or according to scripture. Shame on us. We are called to love first and foremost. That’s it. Let everything you do be done in love, every interaction you have with people, whether you know them well or you don’t, every single thing should be covered in love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples: if you have love for one another. This is how others see Christ in us, by the way we love. As a believer, you should be gentler and more loving than you were this time last year, you should be kinder and more compassionate, you should be giving and more sacrificial. Would your spouse describe you this way? We should be the most loving people that the people in our lives know—especially those who are not believers. The kingdom of heaven shines through our loving actions in ways it cannot through our words. As believers in marriage, many come to a point where we struggle with the actions of our spouse falling short of Scripture. Perhaps you have been desperately praying they surrender their lives fully to Him, or even that they come to know Him—this is how they come, through love. When they see us demonstrate love as the world dictates a different response, they see the hand of God. Let love be the center of everything you do, and those we want to see Jesus, will see Him here on earth.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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