July 16, 2019
1 John 3:11-17
Do you believe the love of God in Christ wants to reach out through you every day to touch lives? How about other believers; those who declare, by the power of the Spirit, Jesus is Lord of their lives? Father may want to love more of his children by expressing his love and goodness through you. If you believe this is true, you will not be participating in the work of Christ if you isolate yourself from certain believers or hand pick a few folks you will love. Doesn’t it make sense that Christ would reach out through you to love those who are the most challenging in order to reveal the presence of the Lord in you who wants to produce the fruit of authentic love and faith?
Let’s face it, not every believer is just like you; we are all different shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Our gifts and communication styles are different. We are from different states, countries, and customs. Yet, as believers, living among all of our differences, we have Someone in common who delivers us from sin: Jesus! If you only love people who are just like you, please don’t pat yourself on the back too soon. Jesus will not be joining you in that self-appreciation act. You want to be bold in your faith? You want to see what the love of Christ can do through you? Ask God to bring you someone difficult to love and stand in that place until you see Christ’s victory. Refuse to speak an unkind word or allow an unkind thought to rest in your mind about another believer; recognize this is the work of evil. Work the Word of God instead; ask the Lord to love through you. Then, when he rises up in you and does it, realize it was the Living Word manifesting and give the glory to God!
1 John 3:11-17
11 For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.
12-13 We must not be like Cain, who joined the Evil One and then killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because he was deep in the practice of evil, while the acts of his brother were righteous. So don’t be surprised, friends, when the world hates you. This has been going on a long time.
14-15 The way we know we’ve been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together.
16-17 This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me love those who are a challenge; it changes me. I smile at how you help me—as well as all your children—reveal a sacrificial love that we cannot do in our own strength. You are awesome, Jesus! Holy Spirit, please keep me loving others; stir my heart and highlight my opportunities. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
NOTE: The homework challenge I issued to you on Sunday is here for you. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 every day and ask God to grow agape in you: 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!