John 13:34-35NKJV — “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus made it clear.
It’s loving one another which testifies of our identity.
Not what we have.
Not where we live.
Not our occupation.
It is loving as Jesus has loved.
That is a tall order.
Jesus loved to the death and beyond the grave.
His disciples did too.
Church history records each and every one of the eleven (Judas the betrayer committed suicide) was persecuted for their devotion for Jesus Christ and only John survived these persecutions.
All the rest died for their love of Jesus.
And through their testimony innumerable people were saved.
These eleven men proved Jesus’s words were true and they are just as true today.
It is through loving as Christ loves that we show ourselves disciples.
1 John 2:5-6NKJV — But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
1 John 3:11 NKJV — For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, please help me to love as You do. Lord, please guide and direct my heart. Please grant me discernment for today and wisdom. Lord, thank You for Your love and for Your example. May our lives shine the truth of Your love, that others may come to know You. Thank You for Your wondrous works. Thank You for healing, provision, understanding, and salvation. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
1 John 4:7-9 NKJV — Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
“Beloved, let us love one another…”
There is a beautiful key to this verse which begins with one word: beloved.
This letter was penned by John, one of the twelve disciples and part of the three men closest to Jesus.
He used the description of “beloved” many times in his first letter.
Because we are loved by God.
John 3:16-17 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jesus’s life, death, and Resurrection is proof of God’s love.
All of scripture is the story of God’s love.
Thus, John begins with the incredible fact that we are loved by God.
It doesn’t end there.
When we realize the extent of God’s love for us, when we accept His gift of salvation we find the old ways of darkness need to fall off of our hearts and minds.
We need to make a choice to live as He does, because we now carry His name upon our lives.
As those who bear His name, we need to live honorably before both God and mankind.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
It’s clear, if we know God and His love, we too must love.
What is equally true is the lack of love points to the wicked one, whose very goal is to ruin and destroy.
John 10:10 KJV — The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The true motives of the heart are where the testimony resides.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
And we circle back to the beginning, beloved by God, saved through His sacrifice, because He cares for you.
Only through Jesus Christ can we live eternally with God.
Only through Jesus Christ can we understand what loving others truly is.
Only through Jesus Christ can we walk today in loving as He does.
1 John 4:11 NKJV — Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for coming to Earth and teaching us what love truly is. Lord, thank You for being our example and our teacher. Lord, please help me to love others more, to live free from sin, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, falsehood, and fear, but rather help me to fear You instead, to love You, to be devoted to You and Your Word. Lord Jesus, I humbly submit myself before You. Show me where sin is hiding, that I might turn away from it. Lord, please reveal those areas I am withholding love, that I might learn to love. Lord, please show me where I am afraid, that I might trust You instead. Thank You, Jesus for the truth of Your Word. Thank You for life eternal in Your sacrifice. Thank You for healing the sick, returning the prodigal, providing for the needy, and saving the lost. Lord, most of all, thank You for Your love! I love You, Jesus. Help me to love You more. Amen.
“But we are sure that his religious difficulties never resulted in hypocrisy.” Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
This struck me almost as pointedly as the scriptures.
Luke 6:42 NKJV — “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
It had been during prayer.
I was talking with the Lord about a past circumstance and suddenly the Lord asked me a question.
Who has hurt you the most?
The truth was clear.
My own sin has caused me the most suffering.
Then, respond to all other hurts with that in mind.
And with this my entire prayer focus turned.
It is so easy to look at another and see their blindness, prejudice, or sin.
To experience the pain of hypocrisy in another and recoil from the sting, bruised and battered.
Yet, the Bible is clear, our own sins are as black as anyone’s.
Humility says, “I’m a sinner, too” and stops talking.
Instead of recoiling, rejecting, or loudly renouncing another’s sin, what of prayer, forgiveness, and honesty?
Can we allow Christ’s love to enlarge our hearts and include those who have sinned against us?
What about a brother or sister?
Can we choose to continue in love, prayer, and encouragement even when the other seems calloused?
Matthew 18:21 NKJV — Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Matthew 18:22 NKJV — Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Can we forgive seventy times seven?
If I have been hurt, I certain I have hurt others.
If Christ forgave me, He will forgive them.
Therefore, my heart must be willing to love, quick to forgive, and honestly humble, for we all stand stained by sin, in desperate need of a Savior.
John 15:12 KJV — This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
It’s a command which takes every fiber of our choice to walk in every day of our lives, but it’s a command.
And He knows what is best for us.
John 15:13-14 NKJV — “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for convicting me of my sin, that I might repent and see others more clearly, not tainted by the past. Lord, please help me to walk daily in this commandment. Please teach me how to be Your friend and how to love as You do. Lord, please help me to see myself clearly, remove the plank from my eye. Lord, I want to be real, honest, and humble, please help me to be. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your patience. May my life reflect Yours, that Your name be glorified. Amen.
Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV — And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
God’s Word is clear, we are to love Him.
That our hearts should be devoted to Him first, most, and best.
Because life lived in any other pursuit will lead us astray, into sin, shame, pain, and eventually death eternal.
But for those who love the Lord God, the benefits are incredible.
Psalm 31:23 KJV — O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Psalm 145:20 KJV — The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
Being preserved by God is indeed a wonderful promise, giving us a place to find rest and peace beyond today’s trouble, past the temporary struggles, and beyond the grave.
Joshua 23:11 KJV — Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.
It’s not complicated, love God.
Luke 10:27 KJV — And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
In loving God, we find another opportunity: loving others.
Because love is a gift meant to be shared.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV — Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Love is more than an emotion and far more than any physical pleasure, it is a continued support, care, and nurture.
Romans 12:10 KJV — Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Ephesians 4:2 KJV — With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Love is what Jesus shows us.
Hebrews 10:24 KJV — And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Just as Jesus encouraged the disciples in loving God and loving others, we too can be encouraged in both, and encourage one another.
It’s simple: love.
Love God first, most, and best.
And in doing so love others.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for loving and guiding each one of us. Lord Jesus, thank You for living a life of love and sacrifice. You are our perfect example in all things and we are so blessed to have Your Word to teach us and Your Spirit to convict us. Please, show me where I need to grow in love. Please let me never weary of doing good, but to increase my efforts in every way to follow You with all that I am. Lord, there is nothing more awesome than You and Your love is amazing. Please continue to guide my heart, speak through Your Word, and show me Your way. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for life. I praise Your holy name Jesus! Amen.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
God’s Word speaks for itself.
In order these are the verses you just read: Ephesians 2:4, I John 4:10, John 3:16-17,Ephesians 5:1-2, II Thessalonians 2:16-17,I John 4:11 NKJV.
He loves us.
He died for us.
Let us love Him.
Let us love one another.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. I am overwhelmed by Your love, Your goodness, Your truth. Lord Jesus, only through You can I find the ability to love correctly. Only in Your example do I see what true love is. Lord Jesus, I want that kind of love. I want to share that kind of love. Please work in me today. Please love others through me today. Thank You. Amen.
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. I Peter 2:17 NKJV
It was as if these words knocked me down.
I’d been praying for hours.
Wrestling with circumstances which I simply couldn’t find the answer to.
Not even sure how God would want me to pray.
I went to the scripture.
This is the answer.
“Honor all people.” 1 Peter 2:17a
To be honoring to all people requires a purposeful attitude.
It begins in the heart, where our attitudes towards others become our actions.
Because actions will always follow our attitudes.
“Love the brotherhood.” 1 Peter 2:17b
How sad that we don’t do this automatically.
Yet, as followers of Christ we don’t always see things the same and it can cause friction, pain, and loss.
Each of us is commanded to love each other, no matter the differences.
“Fear God.” 1 Peter 2:17c
This is the key to unlocking it all.
If we don’t fear God nothing we try to do will be effective.
It is only through our personal relationship daily with God Almighty which gives us the ability to walk in honoring others, loving the brethren, and honoring authority.
Through God alone do we find all that we lack.
He supplies our needs, heals our hearts, forgives our sins, and loves us unconditionally.
Out of this relationship we are then able to love each other, honor people, and authority.
“Honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17d
Nope, it’s not always easy to honor those in leadership.
But we honor and fear God when we honor the authority He has placed over us.
Yes, history is riddled with those who have clearly called what is evil good.
One can easily point to history where the authority was not fearing God nor honoring people and some action had to take place.
Yet, as an individual, my heart found so much peace in returning to this verse.
I can’t change many things which I find troubling.
But I can choose to follow Jesus.
I can honor my local, State, and Federal government by doing my best to abide by the laws, to pray for them, and to be edifying with my speech.
I can love fellow Christ followers by praying for the body, reaching out to those God puts on my heart, and continually teaching our children about walking daily with Him.
I can and do fear God. His Word is my answer, my comfort, my guide. His will I seek daily, spending time with Him in quiet. As I hear His direction I choose to respond with obedience and love. All this I do because His love is so compelling!
Lastly, I can honor all people.
Because that’s what God has asked me to do.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this verse and how it has brought clarity to my heart and mind. Lord, You know there is such unrest, hurt, and pain happening. I feel so sad when I see people so afraid and struggling. Thank You for saving us from all this. Thank You that we have hope in You. Lord Jesus, please help us to be people of integrity, honor, and love. Help us to reflect Your Word and Your will. May the whole Earth be filled with the knowledge of You! Amen.