This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
This past Easter Sunday has been a Blessed Day.
Souls saved and Christians encouraged as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Social media has been abuzz with attendance numbers and souls saved representing the work of the church to go out into the highways and hedges to bring them in. We can rejoice in the fruit of such work and rightly so. But God pricked my heart about something a bit deeper.
The Longer I am Saved, the more I Appreciate the Salvation Given me by God.
That restoration can only happen by the blood of Jesus Christ. The adoption is offered and given to those who are born again. I cannot earn it, work enough to get it or claim it as mine without that bloodshed for me. Outwardly, I must allow the purging process to chip away what is not formed in the likeness and image of Christ to fall away and have that which is more like Jesus grown in me.
John was the Disciple whom Jesus Loved.
Of the twelve times that statement “Love one another” appears; it is written nine times by the apostle John. He is the one whom he refers to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. John was the one who if he were anywhere near Jesus, he could be found laying on His breast – as close as one could physically get to the Savior. He felt the warmth, heard the heartbeat and was held by arms that were genuine in their love for him.
John felt loved. He is the only disciple named to be at the foot of the cross. While others fled in fear, John stood by. He was told by Jesus that he was to take care of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Simply. John knew he was loved. But Jesus went further in His teaching. He said, John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus showed that love. John saw that love displayed. He went out and did likewise.
Sometimes we put Limitations, Conditions, and Restraints on how We want to be Loved – or how We will Love Others.
We say those words, “I love you” with such ease at times I wonder at my own commitment to the love I profess. Please, do not get me wrong; I DO mean it. But is it received in the same spirit? You say you love me but… and sometimes we put limitations, conditions and restraints on how we want to be loved – or how we will love others.
Truth be told, we all have limitations of the love we profess. Love given in my own strength will fall far short of what God is saying to us this morning. Love given in my own comfort zone – without sacrifice, or from the heart is holding back the ability God may want to love others through you and me.
Loving those Whom God asks Us to Love will take Us out of our Comfort Zone.
We are willing to accept love given to us, but to reciprocate that love; to sacrifice to show that love in return – that becomes and effort many limit themselves and limit God loving through them. Understandably, there is a risk involved. Jesus loved us and look what happened to Him! But – for the JOY that was set before Him, He endured the cross.
Loving those whom God asks us to love will take us out of our comfort zone and cause us to ask how much do I really love?! There are those in our lives that are easy to love. Then, there are some who take a little work. Then there are some that no matter how much you put forth, your love and mine is just not received well.
Laying Down Our Lives for Those We love is easy.
I take heart that I know I am not all I can be in this area, but, bless God, I’m not what I used to be either! Continuing in that love, we grow closer to Jesus just as John did. Ultimately, we are all shown a love that took the ultimate sacrifice. Laying down our lives for those we love is easy. Laying down for those who are not grateful nor can return that love. But I take to heart that scripture, Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”