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Girlfriends in God - Nov. 20, 2007


November 20, 2007

Turn Up The Volume!

Part 2

Gwen Smith


Today’s Truth

Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 NIV


Friend to Friend

Many years ago a shabbily dressed boy trudged several miles through the snowy streets of Chicago, determined to attend a Bible class that was conducted by D.L. Moody. When he arrived, he was asked, "Why did you come to a Sunday school so far away? Why didn't you go to one of the churches near your home?" He answered simply, "Because you love a fellow over here."


Yesterday, we looked at the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We were challenged to live love louder and to turn up the volume on our love for God. Today we will look at the second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).


Who is my neighbor? Here’s a simple litmus test you can use to determine if someone is your neighbor. First, ask yourself if they have a pulse. Next, ask yourself if they are breathing. Finally, ask yourself if they are human. If the answer to all three questions is yes…(drum roll please)…they are your neighbors, and you are called to love them. Remember – this commandment is second only to the command for us to love God.


How can we love our neighbor? In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor, act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."


The Bible gives us some key instructions about loving others. Many of them can be summed up in the following two guidelines: accept one another and serve one another.


ACCEPT one another: We need to set our expectations and disappointments aside to accept others, warts and all, as Jesus did.


Jesus said, “A new command I give to you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).


“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”

(Romans 15:7).




SERVE one another: Romans chapter 12 says that we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Jesus demonstrated this principle with perfect humility all throughout the gospels. We need to love others louder by serving them.

Galatians 5:13-15 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


Jesus said in John 15:12-13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”


Let’s throw some skin on this, ladies. What does it look like for you and me to love others right here, right now? I think it is different for each of us, but I know that it starts in our homes. It begins first in our marriages and extends from there to our children. It reaches across the street to our hard-to-love neighbors, to our parents, our siblings, our (gulp) in-laws, extended family, and friends. It reaches to our churches, and then moves from there to our communities. Ultimately, our neighbor is every living human on earth. Christ loves and died for each and every person you know.


We love others when we replace irritated responses with kind ones. We love others when we put our faith into action and share our wealth with those who have nothing. We love others when we forgive them as we have been forgiven and when we model our lives after Christ – because He is the perfect reflection of God, and God is love.


The little boy that walked several miles through the snowy Chicago streets to go to D.L. Moody’s Sunday school class did it because he experienced love. Love is powerful. It is life changing. God longs to use us as His love source. Let’s ask for God’s help today so we can live love louder to others.


Let’s Pray

Holy Father, Your love is amazing. I confess that it is often difficult for me to love others. Please forgive me. Lead me with your Holy Spirit to love others as You do. Help me see my neighbors as Your creation, whom You dearly love. Help me love louder. For Your glory, and in Your matchless name I pray, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

Who came to your mind as you were reading this devotion? What do you sense the LORD is bidding you to do in response?


Read Romans chapter 12 and pray that God would lead you in response.


What about love? Read and consider the following scriptures:


“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now

I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three

remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”

(1 Corinthians 13:12-13).


“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one

another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves”. (Romans 12:9-10).


More from the Girlfriends

Basic life stuff here today, friends…but quite the challenge, right? I can almost hear you screaming at your computer screen, “But Gwen! You don’t know such-and-such! They are impossible to love!” To which I kindly reply to you (my sweet GiG), “Impossible for you, perhaps, but not impossible for Christ in you!” (Breathe!) I’ve found that when my life is focused on the two greatest commands: loving God and loving others – life is good. Life is as it should be.


What’s in your stocking? Gwen’s inspirational music is a great gift option for Christmas! Her songs can be heard and purchased on her website ( How about giving the gift of Jesus…packaged in song this year.



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