Love One Another
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” — 1 John 3:11
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” — 1 Peter 4:8
“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” — Romans 13:8
“8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” — 1 Peter 3:8-9
The love of Christ compels us to love one another. We ought to be so filled with the love of God that it irresistibly obliges us to love others. Imagine being broke and starving. Then, based off nothing you have done, you are lifted out of your poverty and given an endless buffet of amazing food. You would be overcome with gratitude to the one who did that for you. This act of love, compassion, and generosity should also make you think about all of your friends that were starving with you. How can you eat meal after mouthwatering meal and not long for your friends to experience this too?
Of course, you want your friends to join you at the banquet table and partake of the endless supply of food. In the same way, you have been brought out of the darkness where you were lost and without hope. God saved you, brought you out of the darkness, and placed you into His marvelous light. You now have a heavenly inheritance that is sealed with the Holy Spirit. You sit at the heavenly banquet table with everlasting blessings. This banquet table is not like “musical chairs.” You won’t lose your seat and there is not a limited number of chairs. Rather, there is plenty of room and a Father that wants to share more and more of His great love. Don’t you want to love others as Christ has loved you?
Paul took it a step further and said that it is your obligation to love one another. The only thing you ought to owe someone else is to love them. Loving your neighbor means to love the people you actually meet with every day. It is easy for us to love in the theoretical and the abstract – especially with the proliferation of social media and throwing out the simple phrase “sending you my thoughts and prayers.” That is a nice sentiment, and you may actually mean it, but it is rarely an act of love. God demands that we love real people.
Questions for Thought:
- What is the difference between showing godly love and showing a superficial kind of love?
- How do you feel about being obligated to love others? Is that a burden or a joy? If it is a burden, how does that relate to your relationship with God?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
Love is the great equalizer. People have no strong defenses against an act of godly love. It melts hearts, brings down walls, and dissolves anger. Your mission in life is to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then it is to love your neighbor as yourself. Everything in life can be lined up against these two commands.
Your mission for God is only as effective as your ability to love one another. You can do wonderful, amazing acts of kindness. But people will eventually be able to see if it was an act of love. You must develop a healthy, holy love for other people. If you struggle with loving others, spend more time studying the love of God in Christ Jesus. Remember, the love of Christ compels us. So our love for others stems from the love we receive from Christ.