Sunday Worship at 11AM | 4967 Fincher Rd., Canton, GA 30114

The Golden Rule, can you recite it? When I was young I can remember being taught it, treat others like you want to be treated. In the Scripture Jesus tells us that it is the way that we love one another that will be proof to the world that we are His disciples. Jesus said it this way: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV) 

It turns out, love is not a secondary issue. Love must be the foundation of the way we worship God and interact with those He has created. We are reminded that the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being, and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself (see Mark 12:30-31). The way that we love others, how we show others mercy, and how we extend forgiveness shows a great deal about what we understand of God’s love, the mercy He has shown us, and the incredible gift of forgiveness God has given us in Christ.

Paul tells us that everything we do should be done in love (see 1 Corinthians 16:14). The verse seems to indicate that this love should be shown to all people. Biblical love turns out to be radically different than what secular sources might say. The Bible teaches us this about true love: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

I think there are two ways that can help us spot our level of Christian maturity. First, how do you love others? How do you love those who are hard to love? How do you love those you don’t agree with? How do you love those who have a different perspective? How are you loving others created by God and whom Jesus died to save?

Second, are you responding with obedience to the things you do know and understand from the Scripture? Are you a “doer” of the Word of God? Or are you hearing it and not doing it and just deceiving yourself? (see James 1:22) Jesus says if we truly love Him, we will keep His commandments (see John 14:15). If we are being faithful with what we do know, we will be faithful with what we learn next.

If you are struggling to love others the way Christ has commanded, you aren’t alone. I think at some point, we all struggle to love people for different reasons. But, we should be actively growing in this area. Paul tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that means the proof of His presence in our lives, are these things: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:21-23 ESV) I find it interesting that the first fruit mentioned is love… it is from this that all the others will flow. Notice that fruit is singular, as in all these things should be present and in growing measure in lives where the Holy Spirit is present. Although we aren’t called to be the personal fruit inspector for others, we should pause and consider what the fruit of our own lives looks like.

Lastly, Paul tells us that the works of the flesh are radically different than the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Paul says this: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-20 ESV) Read that list again. Go back and read it one more time. Most of us are going to quickly strike items out like sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery. Those are the ones that repulse us… but look closer. Jealousy. Rivalries. Dissensions. Divisions. Those other things do repulse God, but so does the rest of the list.

So… how is your love and obedience? When you compare the fruit of the Spirit to the works of the flesh, which one more closely identifies your own life? Once you have had some time to pray, reflect, and honestly consider the question, pray. Ask for God’s guidance and when He corrects, repent. Thank God for the amazing promise of 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Categories: Devotion