“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
As you just read in the verses above, we are commanded to love others. For most of you reading this, I’m sure this is not a new concept for you. However, if you’re anything like me, when you first heard of this concept you may have thought, “Oh, but how hard it can be sometimes to truly love others!” I know, that sounds a bit harsh right? But if we are being honest, haven’t we all said something along these lines at some point? Due to our sinful nature, it can be so challenging to love others, especially when they don’t show love to us in return. I have experienced this firsthand in my own life.
I grew up in my family as the only one who believed in Christ and what the Word of God says. Trust me when I say it was most definitely not easy. There were often times when my family would make jokes about what I believed and/or not include me in things because of what I believed. This, of course, made it so difficult to truly love them as I am commanded to. My first reaction was usually to respond by saying mean words and jokes back to them or by just simply screaming at them, which didn’t do a bit of good and absolutely did not show them, love. This was how I continuously responded to them until I read verses like the ones above.After reading such verses, I was feeling pretty convicted of how I was not showing love to my family at all and how I was only willing to show them love, if and when they were willing to show me love back. But here’s the thing, Jesus didn’t say love others when they are willing to love you back. He clearly said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” We don’t get to pick and choose the terms on which we love others. Also, I know good and well that I’m not always the easiest person to love either. We are all sinners and we all have our days and our moments and in those moments I sure hope there are people out there who will still love me and I know for a fact that Jesus still does. I realized that even though my family can be difficult to be around and love at times, I am still called to love my family regardless, but this is so much easier said than done. As the title says, love doesn’t always come easy.
There is hope, however, thanks to Christ dying on the cross and empowering us through the Holy Spirit! In Christ, we are free from our bondage and our sin and are able to do just what the Lord commands us to do! Through Christ, we can love others and even love those who aren’t willing to be nice to or love us in return. Don’t get me wrong here, it isn’t an easy process to learn to always love others the way Jesus does, but God’s glory and our eternal reward through it will be so worth it, I promise!
By the Lord’s grace, I was able to find some practical ways I could show love to my family no matter what. Some ways in which I did this were praying for them, inviting them to church, sharing the gospel with them and offering them my assistance when I saw they could use it, even if it was something as simple as carrying in groceries or washing dishes. Through praying for my family and serving them by doing helpful tasks around the house, I actually started to have a softened heart towards them and really began to love them. To love them more like Jesus loves them. There are still times when I’m tempted to not show love to them, but it is in those times that I remember John 15:12!
If you have a personal relationship with the Lord through Christ, then you are capable of loving others through the Lord’s grace as well and you are not just capable of doing this, but commanded to do this! I so want to encourage you to love those around you and if you haven’t been very loving to a certain person, maybe it’s a family member, a friend or a co-worker, now would be a great time to start! If you don’t yet have a personal relationship with the Lord, I would encourage you to learn more about how to have a relationship with Him. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment asking how. There is no greater joy to be found than joy in the Lord!
Chances are you are among the massive majority of Christians who rarely or never fast. It’s not because we haven’t read our Bibles or sat under faithful preaching or heard about the power of fasting, or even that we don’t genuinely want to do it. We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.
Did you know that almost six out of ten teens leave the church at some point? Nearly 60% of high school students who grow up going to church will close the doors to a Christian life. And usually, they don't come back (survey by the Barna Group). "Because of people breaking the laws and sin being everywhere, the love in the hearts of many people will become cold." Matthew 24:12