"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 13:34-35 NLT
Thoughts for Today
The words in today's scripture give us one of Christ's final instructions to his disciples. He emphasizes the command's importance by calling it a "new commandment." He's saying, "Listen to this. I'm telling you something new."
Jesus is telling us to love one another just as he loves us. How does he love us? Unconditionally. Willing to suffer and die for us even though we don't deserve it. He loves us no matter what we do.
Do we love like that? Do we love unconditionally--or do we expect people to earn our love? Do we love people even when they don't deserve it? Are we always willing to forgive?
Consider this …
Jesus said if we love one another as he loves us, the world will know we are his disciples. Do they? Does the world look at us and know we belong to Christ? Or do we blend in with everyone else.
How can we show Christian love and brotherly kindness in ways that grab the attention of those outside the faith? We can care for the poor, the elderly, the misfits, and others with no thought of material reward. We can do acts of kindness that are difficult, tedious, unglamorous, and inconvenient. We can care for the sick, make meals, shovel sidewalks, visit the homebound. We can honor one another, encourage one another, and freely forgive one another.
If we will love one another the way Jesus loves us, unbelievers will know we belong to him. And when they see his love in us, they will be drawn to him.
Lord, thank you for your unconditional love. Help me love others with that same kind of love. Help me love in such a way that others will see you in me . . . and want to know you. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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