“… you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:33-35 (NLT)
Jesus said this to His disciples at their last supper. Time was seriously running out. So whatever He said to them, had to be crucial to the mission.
I am to love others as Jesus has loved me and in that true example of loving, others, even unbelieving enemies, would know that I was His disciple. That’s an amazing thing! Frankly there are some people who aren’t very lovable! And yet, Jesus does not qualify His statement.
My pastor published on the week’s bulletin a list of Scriptures which may teach and encourage me in my desire to love others. I’d like to share them here – with some personal notes.
Proverbs 18 Each chapter of Proverbs may seem like a list of random thoughts but often there is a thread which “connects the dots.” For me in this chapter, I really get lessons in the use of my mouth and how I will reap much wisdom if I listen more, listen first, and then consider whether to speak or not. Definitely a chapter to read more often!
James 1:19 While this chapter also encourages me to wisely be slow to anger, it also has an important phrase “be slow to anger.” When you get angry, does it come over you like a slow burn or like a flash? Yes, me too. Anger is a white hot, flash of lightning that rarely has anything to do with slow, methodical thinking!
Proverbs 21:26 Some people are able to present a good face. They may have a broken wrist or a broken heart – but everything is “fine.” Most of us have “secret sins” that we hide. Sin thrives in darkness. It flees in the Light of God’s Presence! Oh how much God wants me to keep growing closer and closer to Him. He wants me to be real!
Colossians 1:9 Most of us grow up wanting to please our parents or mentors or teachers. We want their approval. As I got to know Abba, Father God, I wanted to be so close to Him. I read and studied the Bible for hours. And sometimes I found, what seemed to be conflicting directions. I wanted more wisdom. I wanted more clarity. Our Father is faithful. We can trust Him. He will keep meeting, keep teaching us.
Proverbs 17:1 I am going to climb on my soap box. Reality shows with all their drama, including fighting, screaming, lying, cheating – certainly a crust of bread for dinner is better than living with people who find that kind of behavior acceptable for a home! Reading the whole Proverb is a good, healthy meal I will go back to read again.
Ephesians 4:15 This chapter admonishes the leaders of the church that their job is to grow up the members of Christ’s Body to maturity. Leaders such as pastors and teachers are not there to do all the work of ministry but to empower all of us to do the work we have all been given talents to do.
Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing” is Paul’s admonition that most of us skip when we read this part of Philippians. We want to be an example to others but we do not necessarily want to do that without being given credit for the difficulties and hard work we put in to make it happen.
1 Corinthians 13:7 This chapter of 1 Corinthians is often viewed as the definitive biblical explanation of “love.” No matter how many times I read through the chapter, I am always convicted to assess my own life and how I apply love to those who are in my life, whether friends, acquaintances or even – not friends. It is a good lesson and I need to review it often!
Colossians 3:13 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. (Colossians 3:12-14, CEV) Whether I am applying this to my parents, siblings, spouse, children or church members, there is no wiggle room to exempt me from forgiveness as I have already been forgiven much! Forgiving someone isn’t letting them off the hook! They were never on my hook to begin with! It is for Jesus to judge and bring justice.
Proverbs 13:12 Jesus’ name brings hope, His perfect Hope into my spirit. No matter how many times I am knocked down, Jesus puts His hand out and Hope covers me, lifts me, brings me up and sets me on the path where Abba wants me.
No matter what a week brings, God’s Word is there to guide, heal and bring me to the place He wants me – closer to Him.