love one another

Whatever we do as Christians we must do it with love in our hearts.

Jesus said,‘This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ John 15:12-13 and,

‘Love your enemies, do good to them which  hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you’ Luke 6:27-28

We are to love each other as Jesus loved us, and he loved us enough to die for us. We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to practice sacrificial love such as listening, helping, putting others first, encouraging, giving etc.-without wanting something back in return.

On one occasion an expert on the law asked Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Jesus turned the tables by asking him what was written in the law. The man answered,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’  Luke 10:27

And he (Jesus) said unto him, ‘Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live’  Luke 10:28

The man was quoting from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 if you want to look it up)

There are actually three commands here. Love God, love your neighbour and love yourself.

Loving God

You cannot serve the Lord Jesus Christ without knowing the wonderful power of His love within you and this is why many of us struggle and fail to live successful lives as disciples of Jesus. As we have said before, Christianity is not about rules and regulations, it is about a loving relationship with God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Relationships are a two way affair – both parties have to put something into it otherwise it won’t develop. If you don’t talk to your partner, parent or friend etc. then your relationship with that person will suffer and it’s exactly the same with our relationship with God.

Mercy not sacrifice

In Mathew 9:10-13 the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples, ‘why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?’ Jesus overheard this and quoted an Old Testament verse from Hosea 6:6 at them, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.’

Religious rituals are only helpful if carried out with an attitude of love for and obedience to God. If a person’s heart is far from God, ritual will become empty mockery. 

God doesn’t want our rituals He wants our hearts!

Jesus talked about love so much because He knows that you can’t live for Him until you first fall in love with Him. If you are struggling with your Christian life, ask yourself, ‘How much do I love Jesus?’ Is He the daily joy of your life? If not, then this may be the cause of some of your problems. Just get down on your knees, confess to Him that you want to love Him more, and ask Him to pour into your heart His own special love. He will do as you ask. Love is promised to you as one of the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ (See Galatians 5:22)

Loving your Neighbour

‘But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Luke 10:29

Jesus then went on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan. You can read it in Luke 10:30-37 but When Jesus asked the expert in the law, ‘Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, ‘He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus,unto him, ‘Go, and do thou likewise’. Luke 10:36-37

From this parable we learn three principles about loving our neighbour:

1. Lack of love is often easy to justify, even though it is never right

2. Our neighbour is anyone of any race, creed or social background who is in need, and,

3. love means acting to meet the person’s need.

Wherever we live there are needy people close by. There is no good reason for refusing to help. 

Loving Yourself

Loving yourself in this respect does not involve arrogance, self centredness or pride but a self respect and assurance that comes from knowing that you are a ‘Child of God’.  

It is important to know who you are in Christ and there are many Bible verses on this.You are:

Accepted in Christ – you are God’s child (John 1:12), you are a saint (Ephesians 1:1), you have been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins (Colossians 1:14) 

Secure in Christ– you are free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2), you cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35), you are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)

Significant in Christ – you are the salt and light of the world (Mathew 5:13-14), you are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), you may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12), you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)

As Christians we have been bought with a price and we belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20) and we are now free from sin, guilt and death (Romans 8:1-2)J

Jesus told his disciples:

‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ John 13:34-35

Love is one of the clearest tests of discipleship and will become more evident as we grow in our faith.If you really want to make a difference in this world then live as Jesus commanded us, showing the love of Jesus to all.

Those who don’t know Jesus do not want to listen to us preaching – they want to see us living what we preach and that starts with love for our brothers and sisters in Christ and love for the lost.

It isn’t easy to keep the command, ‘love one another’ Paul talks about the importance of love in his letter to the church at Rome. We can be grateful that he nowhere says that we must love others by feeling warm towards them. While God graces our lives with a few who bring out warm feelings in us, many people who need love are not exactly loveable. Paul does us the favour of stressing not the feelings of love, but the actions.

Love must be sincere…….. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves…….. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse. rejoice with those who rejoice: mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud…….. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil…….. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge, I will repay’, says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’ …….. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:9-21

This is challenging teaching and you may think you cannot live up to it, and you can’t on your own. But the Holy Spirit is now living in you and He is changing you to be more like Jesus every day. Let’s start showing that we love God by loving each other. If, like me, you have been guilty of loving only those who are part of your own circle of friends, confess it to the Lord and ask His help to show His love to all.And remember, that it all starts with the actions that Paul wrote about above.God Bless, and Love to you in Jesus.   

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Responses

  1. That’s lovely….


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