Loving Others: Not a Role, but a Lifestyle
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt
A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. — John 13:34
I recently saw a church advertisement in a newspaper that read something like the following:
“God’s Love Offered Here”
One Sunday Only, June 12, 2005
Special Musical Guest…
Reading this, I laughed out loud. My mind had put the second and third lines together instead of the first two lines, creating “God’s Love Offered Here – One Sunday Only, June 12, 2005.” I’m sure the church didn’t intend for anyone to walk away with the message that they would only offer God’s love on one special Sunday, but that’s what I came away with! Still, reflecting further on the ad, it occurred to me that withholding God’s love from others is all too common for us, who consider ourselves to be followers of Christ.
If you are at all like me, it seems far too easy to compartmentalize our lives into the different roles we play: employee, student, father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, consumer, teammate, neighbor, Christian.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
• On Sundays, many families who have been arguing all morning arrive at church, put on their smiles and turn on their best behavior – because it’s SUNDAY – where everyone is supposed to act happy and show that they’re filled with God’s love.
• On Mondays, many students who have spent hours with fellow Christians over the weekend in their youth groups, performing service projects, and participating in church services arrive at school and instantly transform into their school personality – where they turn selfish and unloving, picking on or ignoring the “un-cool” kids around them.
• Throughout the week, millions of Christ followers won’t utter a single word to their next door neighbors – not because they won’t see their neighbors – but because it’s too inconvenient, or the neighbors seem strange, or they don’t take any initiative to get to know “us.”
Jesus didn’t call his followers to play a role on Sundays or to love others when it is convenient. His own example shows us time and again that love is a lifestyle to be lived 24/7. He took time out from his teaching to reach out and heal a crippled woman. He singled out a despised tax collector from the crowds to build a relationship with Him. His heart went out to a widow whose son had died, so He brought the son back to life and restored him to his mother. And ultimately, He suffered a criminal’s death to offer forgiveness of sins to each one of us. No, Jesus does not call us to play an occasional loving role, but rather He calls us to live a lifestyle of love. Today, may you take up the challenge to love at all times.
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1. Do the people in your world see you as loving? What would your family say? What would your coworkers say? What would your neighbors say?
2. What action steps can you take this week to intentionally demonstrate God’s love at work in your life?
Luke 7:11-15; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 4:7
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