Love One Another

This is going to be one of the shortest blogs you may ever read from me.

Not because I don’t have a lot to say.  It’s more that, He who I reference says it so well.

And yet, it might also be one of the most challenging…

Recently, I’ve been writing and posting in response to North Coast’s current teaching series on the books of the New Testament called, “27: The Letters that Define Us.”  If you’d like to view or catch up on some of the really great teachings within this series, you may do so through this link.

What I love about this series is the way it is teaching and convicting us each week about how we are to live once we claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and take on the name “Christ-ian.”

How, if we are to live authentically as people who claim to be Christians, there are some things in our lives that we are simply going to be willing to change about ourselves.

Okay, maybe not simply.

One of the hardest things about being willing to change stems from the challenge many of us have with finding the end of ourselves.

We live in a society and culture where independence is valued and capability is king.

We’re expected by others to be able to manage every aspect of our lives and so we adopt that philosophy and expectation of ourselves.

And most of the time it’s good.

But take this week’s study for example; the book of 1 John.

What are we supposed to do with the apostle John’s reiterating Jesus’ command to ‘love one another?’

I mean it’s been stated before so it seems we’re not the first generation to experience a few bugaboos in doing this well.

John first states this “new commandment” in his Gospel account, John 13:34-35 and then he repeats it again in John 15:12 and John 15:17.

Four times alone, he references it in his 1st Letter (1 John):

Paul also speaks to Jesus’ command that we love one another in Romans 13:8 and 1 Thessalonians 4:9 and Peter likewise picks up on it in his letter (1 Peter 1:22).

10 references to Jesus’ command that we are to love one another.

It seems this is something the Lord really wants us to focus upon.

And yet, it can be so difficult to do.

Some people are just really hard to love.

And even with those whom we claim to love; it can sometimes be really difficult for us to carry through on our promises.

Jesus knows this.

And yet…His command.

So, how?

How can we change to get better at being obedient to Christ’s command?

I submit that Jesus never asked us to do it on our own.  Oh, it’s a choice.  It’s even an expectation we should have of ourselves.  It’s simply not something we’re supposed to be able to manage on our own.

The First Epistle of John reflects a theme of love that we too often forget or, at least, don’t take enough to heart.  We are to be an imitation of Christ.  As John so eloquently and realistically puts it, “We love, because He first loved us.”  (1 John 4:19).

Loving others ultimately doesn’t happen through our own will.  It happens through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit once we truly come to know and trust the love of Christ Jesus.

It’s the love of our Heavenly Father that makes it happen in and through us.

And there can be no greater inspiration.

Right here with you,